Big Pharma Earnings Watch: Amgen, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer

Jul 31, 2019

Four More Rx Giants Complete the Sweep, Beat Q2 Earnings Forecasts After Hiking Prices


Over the past week, CSRxP has been tracking Q2 earnings for the biggest prescription drug manufacturers in the world. Yesterday, four more of these Big Pharma giants – Amgen, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer – completed the sweep by reporting better-than-expected earnings between April and June.

  • Amgen reported $5.87 billion in revenue.
  • Eli Lilly reported $5.64 billion in revenue.
  • Merck reported $11.76 billion in revenue.
  • Pfizer reported $13.26 billion in revenue.
How do Big Pharma giants like these continue to outpace earnings forecasts and keep the gravy train running while Americans are struggling to afford their medications? By price gouging patients to protect their bottom line. Here are just a few examples:
  • Pfizer increased prices on 41 of its drugs in January. This included a 9.4 percent increase to Xeljanz, their key arthritis drug, and a five percent increase to Lyrica, Chantix and Viagra.
  • Merck’s Q2 revenue was due in large part to sales of cancer drug Keytruda. Sales of the drug were up 58 percent in Q2, bringing in $2.6 billion for the company. Keytruda was one of five drugs that Merck raised the price of last year.
  • Merck also raised the price of HIV therapy treatment Insentress earlier this month by five percent.
  • Amgen was one of several drug manufacturers to announce price hikes in January.
  • Eli Lilly is one of three companies that control 99 percent of the insulin market.  A 10-milliliter vial of the company’s Humalog Insulin cost $21 in 1996 but today, the same vial costs patients $275.
  • Earlier this month, Eli Lilly jacked up the price of three of its cancer drugs – Cyramza, Alimta and Erbitux.
In total, all 12 Big Pharma giants that CSRxP tracked surpassed Q2 earnings expectations, all while raising prices in 2019. Big Pharma continues to thumb its nose at the crisis of affordability for prescription drugs. Washington simply must act to crack down on the industry’s egregious pricing practices and anti-competitive behavior in order to lower prices for American patients.

Read more on other Big Pharma companies’ Q2 earnings and price-gouging here: AbbVie and Sanofi; Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Roche; GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); Novartis; Johnson & Johnson.