How Much the Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Make Every Second

Which of the largest pharmaceutical companies make the most revenue? The research team at Insurancy put together a list of the 25 top pharmaceutical companies that earned the most revenue in 2021, but with a twist: The annual revenue has been broken down into the amount that these pharma companies earned for every second of 2021, all 31.536 million of them.

Written by Brian Greenberg
CEO / Founder & Licensed Insurance Agent

Last updated: February 2nd, 2023

Pharmaceutical companies play a critical role in modern health care, as they are responsible for the development, production, and distribution of medications that are used to treat diseases and other health conditions. They have shown to be invaluable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by creating the vaccines, boosters, and antiviral medication needed to combat the deadly virus, saving countless lives in the process. Pharma companies invest a lot of money into the research and development that is necessary to create these life-saving medications, but they can also see huge earnings once these medications hit the market. The worldwide pharmaceutical market earned more than $1.4 trillion in 2021, a 13% increase over the revenue earned in 2020. That made us wonder how much the biggest pharmaceutical companies are making during a time when they have become such an important and invaluable asset to society.

Since some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world also earn revenue from non-pharmaceutical products, such as beauty or baby products, our study focused on only the revenue that was earned by the company’s pharmaceutical division for a more accurate comparison. Read on to see the huge amounts of revenue that big pharma companies make every second.

How Much the Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Make Every Second
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Which Pharmaceutical Company Earned the Most Revenue in 2021?

The pharmaceutical company that earned the most in 2021 was Pfizer, with revenue of $81.288 billion, nearly doubling the $41.91 billion in revenue the company made in 2020. How much do these many billions in revenue amount to every second? Pfizer made $2,578 for every second of 2021. That’s 355 times as much as someone making the national minimum wage would earn in an hour!

Pfizer’s huge increase in revenue can be attributed to creating an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 that holds 70% of the U.S. and European markets as well as creating Paxlovid, the antiviral pill of choice to treat COVID symptoms. The company expects to make more than $50 billion from just these two medications in 2022 when all is said and done.

Read on to see which other major pharmaceutical companies made the top ten list for most revenue earned in 2021. All of the top pharma companies made more than $1,400 every second of the year.

How Much the Top 10 Pharmaceutical Companies Earn in Revenue Every Second

  1. Pfizer: $2,578
  2. Sinopharm: $1,917
  3. AbbVie: $1,782
  4. Janssen (of Johnson & Johnson): $1,651
  5. Novartis: $1,637
  6. Roche: $1,562
  7. Merck & Co.: $1,544
  8. GlaxoSmithKline: $1,488
  9. Bristol Myers Squibb: $1,471
  10. Sanofi: $1,413

What Is the Biggest Pharmaceutical Company in the World?

Johnson & Johnson is the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of market cap, with the company valued at $471.26 billion. Johnson & Johnson’s total revenue in 2021 was $94 billion. While this amount surpassed Pfizer’s $81 billion in revenue, the revenue from its pharmaceutical division only accounted for $52 billion of the total revenue earned by the pharma company. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is the division that is dedicated to the research and development of pharmaceuticals.

The revenue made by the Janssen pharmaceutical company amounted to earnings of $1,651 every second, putting the company in fourth place on our list of the highest-earning pharmaceutical companies. The many billions that Janssen earned over the course of 2021 can also be attributed to creating a vaccine for COVID-19. Johnson & Johnson created the world’s first single-shot vaccine for COVID and has shipped hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine to the U.S., the U.K., and other nations.

The life-saving medications that pharmaceutical companies create can come with a hefty price tag. Medicare coverage, a type of health insurance, can help pay for expensive prescription drugs for those who are 65 or older or have a qualifying disability that keeps them from working. If you’re interested in Medicare coverage and how it can benefit you or a loved one, check out our Medicare guide to learn more.

The 25 Pharma Companies That Make the Most Every Second

Rank Company Headquarters Revenue Earned per Second in 2021
1 Pfizer United States $2,578
2 Sinopharm* China $1,917
3 AbbVie United States $1,782
4 Janssen* United States $1,651
5 Novartis Switzerland $1,637
6 Roche* Switzerland $1,562
7 Merck & Co. United States $1,544
8 GlaxoSmithKline* United Kingdom $1,488
9 Bristol Myers Squibb United States $1,471
10 Sanofi France $1,413
11 AstraZeneca United Kingdom $1,186
12 Thermo Fisher Scientific* United States $967
13 Takeda Pharmaceutical Japan $923
14 Eli Lilly United States $898
15 Gilead Sciences United States $866
16 Amgen United States $824
17 Boehringer Ingelheim Germany $773
18 BioNTech Germany $712
19 Novo Nordisk Denmark $711
20 Bayer* Germany $687
21 Sinovac China $615
22 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Germany $602
23 Moderna United States $586
24 Viatris United States $565
25 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals United States $510

*Based on revenue earned by the company’s pharmaceutical division