Jul 31, 2020

Brand Name Drug Companies Continue Streak of Beating Wall Street Expectations After Price Hikes

Two more Big Pharma giants announced Friday they surpassed earnings expectations after hiking prices on American patients. AbbVie and Merck both reported sky-high profits after hiking prices on American patients earlier this year.


  • Sales increased to $10.4 billion compared to $8.2 billion a year ago, beating Wall Street expectations.
  • Strong sales were driven by the company’s immunology business, including blockbuster drug Humira which reached $3.8 billion in revenue.
  • Profits for the brand name drug company were up 12 percent this quarter.
  • This quarter, Merck reported a revenue of $10.87 billion – beating analysts’ expectations.
  • Strong sales were driven by cancer drug Keytruda which jumped 29 percent in Q2 to $3.9 billion.
  • Net income rose to $3 billion, up from $2.67 billion a year earlier.
Both companies’ expectation-besting earnings come after they participated in a series of price hikes in the past year, despite the mounting crisis of affordability across the country.


  • AbbVie kicked off the new year with more than 50 price hikes in January.
  • AbbVie yet again increased the price on the world’s best-selling drug, Humira, increasing the drug’s price by 7.4 percent.
  • Humira’s price has almost doubled since 2012, from about $19,000 to $38,000.
  • Already this year Merck has increased prices 45 times, including on diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet and block-buster cancer drug Keytruda.
  • In November, Merck had jacked-up the price of five drugs – including Keytruda and Gardasil – in a move that was described as “a critical part of pharma’s business models.”
  • The brand name company also raised the price of HIV therapy treatment Insentress last summer by five percent.

AbbVie and Merck join a slew of Big Pharma giants who have reported expectation-besting earnings for the second quarter of 2020 after hiking prices on American patients – including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Pfizer, Amgen, Novartis, and Johnson & Johnson.