Top Pharma Companies 2023: Notes & Methodology
View the full set of company rankings in the Med Ad News October 2023 issue.
General notes: For this 37th annual special report, Med Ad News editors rank the world’s top 50 companies that generate revenue from prescription medicines and healthcare products. Companies that research, develop, manufacture, and sell healthcare products with a strong base in pharmaceuticals are eligible to be included in this special report. As defined by Med Ad News, healthcare products include human prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, generics, imaging agents, medical devices, medical equipment, medical/surgical supplies, diagnostics, and animal healthcare products.
To be considered for the top 50 company list, companies must be independent and publicly traded (or make their full financial statements public) and must have the capability to develop, manufacture, and market human prescription therapeutic drugs. Companies are ranked according to the name of the parent company. All companies are ranked in the main table by their worldwide 2022 prescription medicine revenue. This number was provided by company documents, unless otherwise noted. All other data in the tables represent the group’s consolidated financial figures, unless otherwise stated.
Forty of the top 50 companies reported financials with a year-end date of Dec. 31. These nine companies reported financials with a March 31, 2023, fiscal year-end: Astellas Pharma, Aurobindo Pharma, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, Ono Pharmaceutical, Sumitomo Pharma, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, and Takeda Pharmaceutical. CSL reported financials with a June 30, 2023, fiscal year-end.
Revenue: In tables that rank by revenue, each company is positioned according to worldwide revenue – either by prescription, healthcare, or consolidated group, depending on the chart. The revenue figures include net sales of healthcare products, and potentially interest, dividends, and other income when provided and applicable. Sales from discontinued operations have been included when applicable.
Earnings: This number represents the net income figure that appears in the income statement, after taxes and after nonrecurring and extraordinary charges. The net income figure is based on the consolidated sales of the group. Figures appearing in parentheses or with a minus sign indicate a loss.
Earnings per share: The number for earnings per common share is taken directly from company financial statements. This figure, based on consolidated results of the group, is adjusted for stock splits and stock dividends. Med Ad News editors used the diluted earnings per share figure when provided. Figures appearing in parentheses or with a minus sign indicate a loss.
Research and development: In the chart that ranks each top 50 company according to the research and development expenditure of prescription and/or healthcare products, most of the numbers were provided by the companies. Also provided is each company’s total R&D expenditure (consolidated) for all businesses. For some of the international companies, the prescription/healthcare R&D was not provided and thus the consolidated figure was used in their place; in these instances, the differences between the prescription/healthcare and consolidated R&D totals were negligible.
Total assets: This number represents the company’s year-end total assets as reported in the balance sheet statement, and is for the group.
Shareholders’ equity (Deficit): This number represents total shareholders’ equity (deficit) at year-end as reported in the company’s balance sheet statement, and is for the group.
Employees: This number represents the total number of employees for the year.
Market capitalization: The information that appears in this chart shows the market capitalization of companies. The information came from Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and other sources and reflects company market capitalization as recently as Sept. 22, 2023.
Exchange rates: For non-U.S. companies reporting in foreign currency, Med Ad News editors used exchange rates to convert income statement and balance sheet figures to U.S. dollars. The conversions have been made for the purpose of convenience and comparison only. Med Ad News editors used average exchange rates to calculate income statement figures and balance statement figures. The exchange rates are based on data made available by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (federalreserve.gov) and certain company documents. Unless otherwise indicated, the editors used the average 2022 exchange rates. So that the percent change in financial statement and balance sheet information reflects the actual increase or decrease in the company’s home-country currency, the editors used a constant rate of exchange for 2022 and 2021. This reflects the increase or decrease actually reported by the non-U.S. company. The same exchange rate was used for the income statement and the balance sheet figures.
For the companies that report in euros, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from euros at the rate of €1.00 to $1.0534, the average rate of exchange in 2022. The top 50 companies that report in euros were: Bayer, BioNTech, Boehringer Ingelheim, Grifols, Ipsen, Merck KGaA, Sanofi, Stada, and UCB.
For the companies that report in yen, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from yen at the March 2023 rate of ¥133.6643 to $1.00, except for Chugai Pharmaceutical, Kyowa Kirin and Otsuka Holdings, whose numbers were translated at the 2022 average rate of ¥131.4589 to $1.00. The top 50 companies that reported in yen were: Astellas Pharma, Chugai, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Kyowa Kirin, Mitsubishi Chemical Group, Ono Pharmaceutical, Otsuka, Sumitomo Pharma, and Takeda Pharmaceutical.
For the company that reports in pounds sterling, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from pounds sterling at the rate of £1.00 to $1.2371, the average rate of exchange in 2022. The top 50 company that reported in pounds sterling was GSK.
For the company that reports in Swiss francs, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from Swiss francs at the rate of SFr0.955 to $1.00, the average rate of exchange in 2022. The top 50 company that reported in Swiss francs was Roche.
For the company that reported in Danish kroner, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from the kroner at the rate of DKr7.0786 to $1.00, the average rate of exchange in 2022. The top 50 company that reported in Danish kroner was Novo Nordisk.
For the companies that report in Indian rupees, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from the rupee at the March 2023 rate of Rs82.2665 to $1.00. The top 50 companies that reported in Indian rupees were Aurobindo Pharma and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.
For the companies that report in Chinese renminbi, Med Ad News translated U.S. dollar amounts from the renminbi at the rate of RMB6.729 to $1.00, the average rate of exchange in 2022. The top 50 companies that reported in Chinese renminbi were CSPC Pharmaceutical Group, Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding, and Sino Biopharmaceutical.
Selection criteria for Company of the Year
The criteria for selecting the Company of the Year are based on a model developed by the editors of Med Ad News. Each one of the top 50 companies is evaluated on a number of categories, including these:
- Recent and projected future financial strength
- Number of blockbuster drugs on the market
- Number of potential blockbuster drugs in the pipeline
- Recent number of new drug launches
- Number of new drugs to be launched in the near future
- Quality of new products
- Quality of management and vision
- Marketing ability and activity
- Strength of the product pipeline
- First-half current-year performance
- Formative events and actions
- Business strategy
- Corporate governance and ethics
- Wall Street standing
- Responsiveness to market forces
- Shareholder value
- Future direction and potential
Company of the year List
- 2023: Novo Nordisk
- 2022: Pfizer
- 2021: Pfizer
- 2020: Bristol Myers Squibb
- 2019: Merck
- 2018: Johnson & Johnson
- 2017: Roche
- 2016: AbbVie
- 2015: Gilead Sciences
- 2014: Amgen
- 2013: Novo Nordisk
- 2012: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
- 2011: Novartis
- 2010: Roche
- 2009: AstraZeneca
- 2008: Novartis
- 2007: Roche
- 2006: GlaxoSmithKline
- 2005: Johnson & Johnson
- 2004: Novartis
- 2003: AstraZeneca
- 2002: Pfizer
- 2001: Novartis
- 2000: Pharmacia
- 1999: Eli Lilly
- 1998: Pfizer
- 1997: Warner-Lambert
- 1996: Abbott Laboratories
- 1995: Pfizer
- 1994: SmithKline Beecham
- 1993: Schering-Plough