The 8 Largest Pharma Companies By Market Cap

It's no secret that pharmaceuticals are big business. According to the statistics-tracking website Statista, annual global pharmaceutical sales are ever so close to the trillion-dollar mark, topping $980 billion in 2013, nearly double the sales racked up a decade earlier.

It’s no secret that pharmaceuticals are big business. According to the statistics-tracking website Statista, annual global pharmaceutical sales are ever so close to the trillion-dollar mark, topping $980 billion in 2013, nearly double the sales racked up a decade earlier.

The trend shows no sign of slowing down. Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefits provider, found drug sales in the US jumped 13.1% last year, the largest year-over-year increase since 2003. Much of that growth came from spending on specialty pharmaceuticals, which was up 30.9%.

Inflammatory diseases account for the largest per-patient specialty pharmaceutical spending, followed by multiple sclerosis drugs, and oncology, according to Express Scripts.

In fact, drugs are big-ticket items long before they hit pharmacies. A 2014 report from Tufts University found it costs about $2.6 billion to bring a drug to market these days. That up-front spending will only pay off if the drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and if the drugmaker is able to convince physicians the drug is worth prescribing. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the biopharmaceutical industry spent an estimated $51.2 billion on research and development in 2014. However, the industry has also been criticized for spending billions on marketing. The research firm GlobalData estimated that nearly all of the Top 10 drug companies in the world spent more on marketing in 2013 than they did on R&D.

With all of that as background, below is a look at the 8 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, ranked by market cap (the value of the company’s outstanding shares). The data are based on data from Yahoo Finance on Friday morning. Also included are sales and employee figures from Forbes.

(NYSE: ABBV)

Market Cap: $107 billion

2014 Sales: $19.96 billion

Employees: 26,000

Headquarters: North Chicago, IL

(NYSE: BMY)

Market Cap: $109 billion

2014 Sales: $15.9 billion

Employees: 25,000

Headquarters: New York, NY

(NYSE: SNY)

Market Cap: $130 billion

2014 Sales: $44.79 billion

Employees: 113,000

Headquarters: Paris, France

(NYSE: NVO)

Market Cap: $147 billion

2014 Sales: $15.8 billion

Employees: 41,000

Headquarters: Bagsvaerd, Denmark

& Co. (NYSE: MRK)

Market Cap: $167 billion

2014 Sales: $42.2 billion

Employees: 70,000

Headquarters: Whitehouse Station, NJ

(NYSE: PFE)

Market Cap: $210 billion

2014 Sales: $49.61 billion

Employees: 78,000

Headquarters: New York, NY

(NYSE: NVS)

Market Cap: $244 billion

2014 Sales: $56.56 billion

Employees: 133,000

Headquarters: Basel, Switzerland

(NYSE: JNJ)

Market Cap: $274 billion

2014 Sales: $74.16 billion

Employees: 126,000

Headquarters: New Brunswick, NJ