Drug sales in 2021 hit record heights, with a handful of pharmaceutical companies handsomely rewarded for creating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Pfizer alone raked in $36.9 billion in sales from the Comirnaty vaccine it developed jointly with BioNTech. Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine helped catapult Pfizer to be 2021’s top pharmaceutical company. Continued demand for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to keep Pfizer as the biggest pharma firm of 2022 as well. (Look out for more insights from our annual Pharma 50 report.)
The second-best-selling drug of 2021 was AbbVie’s injectable biologic Humira, which generated $20.7 billion in sales. Next in line was Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drove $17.7 billion in revenue. Merck’s megablockbuster Keytruda rounded out the top four with $17.2 billion in revenue.
Novartis and Roche have struggled to commercialize COVID-19 therapies, although the latter has introduced a series of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. The two companies have thus dipped in the rankings in 2021 compared with last year.
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