ProClinical Life Sciences Recruitment Blog

Who are the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world?

Posted by Peter Hogg

15/06/15 15:47

The ten largest pharmaceutical companies in the world account for more than a third of the industry's total market share according to the World Health Organisation. Here we look at who the current top ten companies are, and some of their leading products and therapies. 

*For a more up-to-date version of this list see the world's top 10 pharma companies 2016.*

This list has been recently updated See our most up-to-date version: Top 10 pharma companies 2016

10. Gilead Sciences

Revenue: $24.474 billion

gileadThe US biopharmaceutical company, best known for producing antivirals, also has a solid commercial portfolio of life-saving drugs in cardiovascular and respiratory therapies. Gilead secures its entry into the top ten list above several big pharma names because of incredible recent growth fueled by its brand new blockbuster hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi. Gilead's market leading medicines include treatments for HIV/AIDS, cancer, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

9. Bayer

Revenue: $25.47 billion

bayerThe Leverkusen-based drug maker has an impressive commercial portfolio of more than 5000 products. In addition to human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, they also operate in consumer healthcare and agricultural chemicals. Bayer's top five drugs include anticoagulant Xarelto, eye medicine Eylea, cancer drugs Stivarga and Xofigo, and pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Adempas. 

8. AstraZeneca

Revenue: $26.095 billion

astrazenecaAstraZeneca has a portfolio of products for major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal infection, neurological disorders, respiratory disease and inflammation. Current top-selling products include cholestorol treatment Crestor, asthma therapy Symbicort and heartburn pill Nexium, and the UK-based pharmaceutical company is also said to have a strong pipeline of oncology therapies. AstraZeneca successfully fended off takeover bids from Pfizer in 2014 and has layed-out ambitious targets for future growth, which if successful could see it improve its rank among the top ten list of pharmaceutical companies.

7. GlaxoSmithKline

Revenue: $37.96 billion

glaxosmithklineGSK develops a broad range of products in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare, and has leading products across various therapeutic areas including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, asthma, cancer, infections, mental health, diabetes and digestive conditions. GSK had good growth in emerging markets, Japan, and the company's HIV division last year, but its overall group turnover fell below their 2013 figures causing them to drop down the rankings. In April, Glaxo agreed more than $20 billion in deals with Novartis, selling its oncology business to and buying the bulk of Novartis' vaccine unit, making them the largest vaccines company globally. GSK applied for regulatory approval in 2014 for the first malaria vaccine and currently has one of the leading candidates for an Ebola vaccine undergoing clinical trials.  

6. Merck

Revenue: $42.237 billion

merckMerck brought to market their highly promising cancer treatment Keytruda in 2014, one of six drugs that received FDA approval in the same year, including approvals for insomnia treatment Belsomra and Zerbaxa, the Cubist product approved to treat hospital-acquired infections. As of August 2014, Merck's research and development effort has led to the approval of more new drugs than any other company. Their specialist therapeutic areas include oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, fertility and endocrinology. Merck is also well known for publishing The Merck Manuals, a series of best-selling medical reference books for physicians, nurses and technicians. 

5. Sanofi

Revenue: $43.07 billion

sanofiFrench pharmaceutical company Sanofi specialises in prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicines in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, internal medicine, oncology, thrombosis and vaccines. Diabetes blockbuster Lantus remains the source of much of the company's turnover, supported by vaccines and multiple sclerosis therapies at its biotech unit Genzyme, and antihistamine Allegra in Sanofi's consumer health division. At the beginning of February 2015, the Sanofi's R&D pipeline contained 43 projects (excluding Life Cycle Management) and vaccine candidates in clinical development of which 14 are in phase 3 or have been submitted to the regulatory authorities for approval.

4. Pfizer

Revenue: $49.605 billion

pfizerPfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiology and immunology. Vaccine sales are comfortably keeping Pfizer among the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies, although generic medicines are now beginning to take their toll on some of their blockbusters, including Celebrex, Liptor and Viagra. However, Pfizer recently acquired leading sterile injectables company Hospira in a $17 billion (£11 billion) deal, which gives them access to a large portfolio of generics and biosimilar producs

3. Roche

Revenue: $49.86 billion


Swiss pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Roche is well known for its innovative range of diagnostic solutions and medicines. Its best selling drugs include cancer treatments MebThera, Avastin, Herceptin and Xeloda. Roche is a front runner in personalised medicines and was one of the first companies to bring targeted treatments to patients. 

2. Novartis

Revenue: $57.996 billion


Novartis heads the list of Switzerland's largest pharmaceutical companies and specialises in the development of biological therapies. The company, which consists of specialist divisions for prescription pharmaceuticals, eye care and generics and biosimilars, has a combined workforce of more than 100,000 employees, with operations in more than 140 countries worldwide. Its current top grossing pharmaceutical drugs include Gleevec for cancer and Gilenya for multiple sclerosis.

1. Johnson & Johnson

Revenue: $74.331 billion

j-and-jNumber one on the list of top pharmaceutical companies is no real surprise. Johnson & Johnson is a household name, largely thanks to its consumer healthcare division although it is a real powerhouse across a range of industries from medical devices to pharmaceutical and consumer goods. Johnson & Johnson has over 182 marketed drugs, with market leaders in hepititis C, arthritis, HIV/AIDS and digestive conditions. 

ProClinical are currently hiring for a number of vacancies at many of the companies listed above. If you are interested in working at one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, please upload your CV to our candidate database or apply online to jobs at top 10 pharmaceutical companies



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Topics: Life sciences news, Top 10 blog


About this blog

ProClinical is one of the leading recruitment agencies in the life sciences sector. Blogs are written by ProClinical recruitment consultants and experts within the recruitment and life sciences industries. This blog features advice on finding new jobs and career planning, as well as life sciences news and hiring tips for employers.

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