Recently, eleven multinational pharmaceutical companies released their financial reports for 2021. They all grew in global sales; some of them gained impressive revenues in China.
2021 Financial Results Review
Johnson & Johnson ranks the first with global sales of 93.77 billion USD. The huge revenue comprised three segments—consumer health, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. The pharmaceutical segment grew by 13.6%, driven by various products, including the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
Pfizer has the most rapid growth in global sales, zooming up by 95% to 81.3 billion USD. The exceptional growth was largely contributed by COVID-19 related products: the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty created a full-year revenue of 36.78 billion USD; Paxlovid, an oral drug against COVID-19, generates 76 million USD sales within a single week after being approved on Dec. 23, 2021.
AstraZeneca is the largest foreign pharma company regarding its 5.99 billion USD sales in China for 2021. The proportion of its sales in China to total sales reached 16%, the highest among the foreign pharma companies. The company's remarkable sales in China was related to volume-based procurement (VBP) and the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL): Farxiga, roxadustat, and Lokelma were listed or renewed in the NRDL; Pulmicort, Nexium IV, Onglyza, Betaloc Oral, and Casodex were included in VBP.
MSD records the most vigorous sales growth in China of 60%, bringing the sales to 4.26 billion USD. The company's top drugs in Chinese hospitals are Imipenem and Cilastatin Sodium for Injection, Caspofungin Acetate for Injection, and Sitagliptin Phosphate Tablets, which take up 30.17%, 14.21%, and 9.65% of MSD's sales in China.
Total Sales/US$ billion
Sales in China/US$ billion
Proportion of Sales in China to Total Sales
J & J7
Outlook for Foreign Pharma Companies in China
Many foreign pharmaceutical companies in China face the challenge that their innovative drugs are losing the edge as the patent-related marketing exclusivity of their products is ending. Also, more generic drugs and biosimiliars made by Chinese domestic companies are joining the competition.
To keep their advantages, foreign companies should develop more innovative pharmaceuticals to meet the clinical needs in China. Besides, if the increase in sales volume can offset the price cuts, foreign companies can also increase their competitiveness by getting products included in VBP and/or NRDL.
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