Nature magazine releases the top 10 list of pharmaceutical companies and single products in 2023
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As expected, the top ranking in the pharmaceutical industry in 2023 is facing challenges. Three years after the COVID-19, there is a potential top of the heap. The sales of Pfizer's CoVID-19 vaccine Comitraty (Fubitai) dropped sharply, and Johnson&Johnson replaced it (see Figure 1). Johnson&Johnson's prescription drug sales increased by nearly $3 billion year-on-year, which is the largest absolute growth among peers and the second largest in percentage terms. Johnson&Johnson's growth has benefited from the strong driving force of its diversified product portfolio, especially with Darzelex and Stelara as the leading biologics. These two products also rank among the top ten sales products in 2023 (see Figure 2), with Daretozumab used for the treatment of multiple myeloma, rising from 14th place in 2022 to 9th place in 2023. As Daretozumab consolidates its leading position in the multiple myeloma market, this leading trend is expected to continue. On the other hand, Uteczumab is likely to fall out of the top ten next year, as its patent is about to expire and it will face fierce competition from biosimilars. Professional institutions predict that sales of this product will rapidly decline.

Top 10 companies in prescription drug sales volume

Attachment: Figure 1. Data source: Evaluate Pharma

Top 10 drugs in global sales volume

Attachment: Figure 2. Data source: Evaluate Pharma

In addition to changes in company rankings, the industry has also noticed that in 2023, Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) achieved its expected goal of becoming the world's best-selling drug, with sales exceeding $25 billion, an increase of $4 billion compared to 2022. The widespread indications for cancer have driven sales growth, and it may remain the top priority in the coming years.

However, the development prospects of diabetes/obesity indicate that this track contains huge business opportunities. Another significant change in 2023 is the rapid growth of glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, particularly Novo Nordisk's smeglutide. Ozempic is one of the three products sold by Novo Nordisk based on Smegglutide, and it is also the fastest growing product among the top ten in 2023. Ozempic's sales for treating type 2 diabetes have increased by over 60%, and the product has risen from 11th place to 3rd place. In short, it is a high probability that Novo Nordisk Company will squeeze into the top ten pharmaceutical companies with the help of Smegglutide.

Pfizer's Fubitai remained in the top ten in 2023 and the first two years, ranking seventh with sales of $11.2 billion in 2023, a staggering drop of over $26 billion from 2022. Like Uteczumab, this may be Fubitai's last time entering the top ten, and future sales performance will continue to decline significantly. Pfizer's other major COVID-19 product, the antiviral drug Paxlovid (Nematovir tablets/Litonavir tablets), has also seen a significant decline and has fallen out of the top ten in 2023. Compared to 2022, the revenue of these two products has decreased by over $44 billion, which has led to a decline in Pfizer's ranking.

The decline in sales of Humira (Adalimumab), the top player on the long-term list, has led to a decrease of over $3.5 billion in Aberville's sales revenue compared to 2022, but it can still maintain second place. Nevertheless, Humira remains the second highest selling product in 2023, with sales exceeding $14 billion. For Abbott, at least this gradually declining product can be partially offset by the growth of other new investment pipeline products. The impact of the COVID-19 is fading away. In 2023, the ranking of the leading pharmaceutical companies will also rotate as expected, including the decline of Humira and the rise of Keytruda. At the same time, we will continue to focus on the rising ranking of the diabetes/obesity market in the next few years.

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