Pharm Exec 50: Growth from the Bottom Up

May 01, 2012

Getty Images / Jed Share
This year's Pharm Exec 50 shows an industry whose growth has slowed to a crawl in the face of patent expirations, aggressive payers, and a tough environment for approvals. The 50 this year sold $610 billion in human prescription pharmaceuticals, up just 2.8 percent from last year's $593 billion. The top 10 grew even more slowly—by just 2.6 percent—and accounted for 59 percent of the 50's total sales, just like last year.

Top 20 Global Products
In a year in which investors have looked with increasing disfavor on large R&D budgets, R&D spending grew by just 4.5 percent, from $101 billion to $105. Among the top 10, R&D was almost flat, growing by just 1.6 percent.

Top 20 Global Therapeutic Classes
Four companies dropped off the 50 because of mergers: Genzyme (last year's number 29), now a part of Sanofi Aventis; Alcon (previously 39), which was acquired by Novartis; Cephalon (previously 40), which is now a part of Teva; and Nycomed (previously 48), bought by Takeda.

Channel Distribution by US Dispensed Prescriptions and US Sales
The consolidation that knocked these companies off the list had another effect: The companies at the bottom of the list are smaller. Every company in the 50 last year had sales of at least $2 billion. This year, the smallest, Aspen, had sales of $1.66 billion. The drop is even steeper when you look at revenue as a percentage of the total revenues of the whole Pharm Exec 50. Last year's smallest company accounted for 0.4 percent of the total revenue of all 50 companies in the ranking. This year, the equivalent figure was 0.2 percent—only half as big a percentage. By way of comparison, in 2004, the first year when all 50 companies had sales of more than $1 billion, the smallest company accounted for 0.3 percent of the revenue of the 50.

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