Oct 22, 2021

First Round of Q3 Earnings Reports Show Big Pharma Companies Raking in Big Profits After Major Rounds of Pandemic Price Hikes

Brand name drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Roche kicked off the first round of earnings reports from Big Pharma for the third quarter of the year this week. Both companies bested Wall Street expectations, buoyed by strong sales in the companies’ pharmaceutical divisions. Both companies have engaged in price-hikes during the COVID-19 pandemic and have a history of engaging in anti-competitive tactics to undermine competition from more affordable alternatives for consumers in the prescription drug marketplace.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Johnson & Johnson bested Wall Street expectations in the third quarter, raking in slightly north of $23 billion in sales, up 11 percent year over year.
  • The company’s pharmaceutical division performed strongly, with sales ticking up 14 percent in Q3, driven by sales for multiple myeloma and inflammatory disease medicines.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 treatment added $502 million in sales for the quarter.
  • Roche reported profits that topped Walled Street expectations, notching $17.29 billion in Q3, up eight percent.
  • Roche’s earnings were also driven by strong sales in the company’s pharmaceutical division, which was up five percent year over year.
  • The company’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra saw sales jump a whopping 57 percent in the third quarter, while sales of multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus climbed seven percent.
The Wall Street-besting earnings come as the companies have continued to hike prices on prescription drugs and engage in anti-competitive behavior during the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson

  • The brand name giant rang in the year by hiking prices on nearly 30 prescription drugs.
  • Last year, Johnson & Johnson hiked prices more than two dozen times at an average rate more than two times the rate of inflation.
  • Johnson & Johnson raised the price of its blockbuster drug Stelara by nearly five percent in 2020.
  • The company increased the price of schizophrenia medication Invega Sustenna by 10.7 percent in 2019 with no evidence that the drugs had been improved.
  • The company’s blockbuster cancer drug Imbruvica costs an eye-popping $180,000 per year.
  • Spending on Imbruvica is expected to exceed $41 billion from 2027-2036 thanks to an anti-competitive patent scheme which has already extended the monopoly on the cancer drug by more than nine years.
  • In 2018, Johnson & Johnson sought to triple the price of Imbruvica, only to ultimately back down amid fierce public blowback.
  • As sales have climbed, Roche has repeatedly hiked prices on the products in its portfolio.
  • In the first week of the 2020, Roche hiked prices on 11 drugs.
  • Blockbuster cancer drug Perjeta was named one of the top 25 drugs pushing costs up in Oregon.
  • report released in late 2019 found that Roche’s price hikes on the popular drug Rituxan were not supported by innovation or improvements and cost U.S. taxpayers $806 million.

Stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for Q3 over the next few weeks.

Learn more about solutions to lower prescription drug prices and hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.