The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the best-selling pharmaceuticals, leading to shifts in the list with Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty surpassing AbbVie’s Humira for the No. 1 spot in 2021. That momentum continued in 2022, with Pfizer and BioNTech jointly raking in $59.1 billion in revenue from the sales of the COVID-19 vaccine. Although Comirnaty maintained its position as the 50 best-selling pharmaceutical of 2022, it experienced a roughly 5% drop in sales compared to the previous year.
As the 50 best-selling pharmaceuticals of 2022 demonstrate, signs are emerging that the reign of COVID-19 vaccines and other therapies appears to be slipping. The two companies — and Moderna — plan on hiking prices to address the weakening demand.
Humira: The second best-selling pharmaceutical of 2022 looking strong
Meanwhile, the heavyweight tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker Humira, which had been the best-selling prescription medicine for most of the past decade, raked in $21.2 billion in 2022, securing the second spot among the 50 best-selling pharmaceuticals.
Next in line was Merck & Co.’s cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda, which generated $20.9 billion in revenue. The company is now working on a new subcutaneous formulation to protect its blockbuster drug from potential competition starting in 2028. Keytruda’s compound patent is protected from expiration in major markets until at least that year and into the following decade in the E.U. and Japan. Keytruda appears to be poised to reclaim the crown as the best-selling drug in 2023.
Other COVID-19 therapies in the fourth and fifth positions
In the fourth slot in 2022 was Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid, which, despite not meeting expectations, still managed to generate $18.9 billion in revenue, making it one of the 50 best-selling pharmaceuticals.
Other top-selling drugs included Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine, which secured the fifth position with $18.4 billion in revenue, and the anticoagulant Eliquis by Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer, which occupied the sixth spot with $18.2 billion in sales.
While COVID-19 took center stage again in 2022, drugs for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases continued to be strong growth drivers, as this list of 50 best-selling pharmaceuticals of 2022 demonstrates. As the demand for COVID-19 vaccines continues to ebb, it is likely that the industry will continue to shift its focus back toward these core therapeutic areas.
Correction: A previous version of this article had included an incorrect total for Dupixent that added sales totals from Sanofi and Regeneron, which co-market the drug. But Sanofi reports the total global net product sales for Dupixent and Kevzara while Regeneron reports its share of the profits or losses from those sales. We’ve updated the sales figure for the drug to reflect this correct financial arrangement.
|1. Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine||Pfizer/BioNTech||$55,918,791,640||The COVID-19 vaccine topped the list of 2022’s 50 best-selling pharmaceuticals. It sold slightly more last year.|
|2. Humira (adalimumab)||AbbVie||$21,237,000,000||rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis|
|3. Keytruda (pembrolizumab)||Merck||$20,937,000,000||various cancers|
|4. Paxlovid||Pfizer||$18,933,000,000||prevention of severe COVID-19|
|5. Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine||Moderna||$18,435,000,000||reduce risk of COVID-19 infection|
|6. Eliquis (apixaban)||Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer||$18,269,000,000||blood clots|
|7. Eylea (aflibercept)||Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Bayer||$12,721,221,200||age-related macular degeneration, macular edema and diabetic retinopathy|
|8. Biktarvy (bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide)||Gilead Sciences||$10,390,000,000||HIV|
|9. Revlimid (lenalidomide)||Bristol Myers Squibb (Celgene)||$9,978,000,000||myelodysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma, and mantle cell lymphoma|
|10. Stelara (ustekinumab)||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||$9,723,000,000||plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease|
|11. Dupixent (dupilumab)||Sanofi Genzyme, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals||$8,735,846,200||atopic dermatitis, asthma, chronic rhinosinitus with nasal polyps.|
|12. Imbruvica (ibrutinib)||Pharmacyclics (AbbVie) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||$8,352,000,000||chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma with 17p deletion, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia|
|13. Opdivo (nivolumab)||Bristol Myers Squibb||$8,249,000,000||various forms of cancer|
|14. Darzalex (daratumumab)||(Janssen) Johnson & Johnson||$7,977,000,000||multiple myeloma|
|15. Trikafta/Kaftrio||Vertex Pharmaceuticals||$7,686,800,000||cystic fibrosis|
|16. Xarelto (rivaroxaban)||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)/Bayer||$7,460,849,000||reducing risk of stroke in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, DVT prophylaxis following knee or hip replacement surgery|
|17. Trulicity (dulaglutide)||Eli Lilly||$7,439,700,000||type 2 diabetes|
|18. Gardasil/Gardasil 9 (human papillomavirus 9-valent vaccine)||Merck||$6,897,000,000||various cancers caused by human papillomavirus|
|19. Prevnar family (pneumococcal vaccine)||Pfizer||$6,337,000,000||pneumococcal vaccine|
|20. Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)||Roche||$5,764,380,000||relapsing or primary progressive multiple sclerosis|
|21. Lagevrio (molnupiravir)||Merck & Co.||$5,684,000,000||oral antiviral authorized for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 illness|
|22. Tagrisso (osimertinib)||AstraZeneca||$5,444,000,000||non-small-cell lung carcinomas|
|23. Botox (cosmetic + neuroscience)||AbbVie||$5,334,000,000||cosmetic treatment of wrinkles, chronic migraine, overactive bladder, upper limb spasticity, cervical dystonia, and strabismus|
|24. Skyrizi (risankizumab)||AbbVie||$5,165,000,000||plaque psoriasis|
|25. Ibrance (palbociclib)||Pfizer||$5,120,000,000||HR-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer|
|26. Cosentyx (secukinumab)||Novartis||$4,788,000,000||plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis|
|27. Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan)||Novartis||$4,644,000,000||chronic heart failure and reduced ejection fraction|
|28. Januvia/Janumet (sitagliptin)||Merck & Co.||$4,513,000,000||type 2 diabetes|
|29. Farxiga (dapagliflozin)||AstraZeneca||$4,386,000,000||Type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart failure|
|30. Invega Sustenna, Xeplion, Invega Trinza/Trevicta||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||$4,140,000,000||schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder|
|31. Enbrel (etanercept)||Amgen||$4,117,000,000||plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.|
|32. Perjeta (pertuzumab)||Roche||$3,903,085,000||HER2-positive breast cancer|
|33. Shingrix (zoster vaccine recombinant, adjuvanted)||GSK||$3,659,341,800||Vaccination against shingles|
|34. Hemlibra (emicizumab)||Roche||$3,650,965,000||hemophilia A|
|35. Prolia (denosumab)||Amgen||$3,628,000,000||osteoporosis, low bone mass|
|36. Tecentriq (atezolizumab)||Roche||$3,549,735,000||urothelial carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer|
|37. Pomalyst/Imnovid (pomalidomide)||Bristol-Myers Squibb||$3,497,000,000||multiple myeloma|
|38.Orencia (abatacept)||Bristol-Myers Squibb||$3,464,000,000||rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis|
|39. Lynparza (olaparib)||AstraZeneca/Merck & Co.||$2,993,000,000||Ovarian cancer, breast cancer|
|40. Imfinzi (durvalumab)||AstraZeneca||$2,784,000,000||Various oncology indications|
|41. Tremfya (guselkumab)||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||$2,668,000,000||moderate to severe plaque psoriasis|
|42. Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab)||Roche||$2,579,455,000||rheumatoid arthritis, forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis and giant cell arteritis as well as CAR T cell-induced severe or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome|
|43. Symbicort (budesonide formoterol)||AstraZeneca||$2,538,000,000||asthma, airflow obstruction in patients with COPD|
|44. Rinvoq (upadacitinib)||AbbVie||$2,522,000,000||moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate|
|45. Verzenio (abemaciclib)||Eli Lilly||$2,483,500,000||HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant|
|46. Taltz (ixekizumab)||Eli Lilly||$2,482,000,000||moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults, active psoriatic arthritis, active ankylosing spondylitis, and active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis|
|47. Vyndaqel (tafamidis)||Pfizer||$2,447,000,000||treatment of transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) in adult patients to reduce cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular-related hospitalization|
|48. Genvoya (elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide)||Gilead Sciences||$2,404,000,000||HIV-1 infection|
|49. Lantus (insulin glargine)||Sanofi||$2,379,630,600||diabetes|
|50. Remicade (infliximab)||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||$2,343,000,000||Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis|
Filed Under: Cardiovascular, Drug Discovery and Development, Gastroenterology, Immunology, Industry 4.0, Infectious Disease, Metabolic disease/endicrinology, Neurological Disease, Oncology, Pharma 50, Special Feature