Feb 15, 2024

More Big Pharma Giants Report Earnings That Top Wall Street Expectations While Continuing to Hike Prices on Dozens of Brand Name Drugs

Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, and AbbVie all recently reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2023 that topped Wall Street analysts’ expectations after all three Big Pharma giants engaged in price hikes in 2023 and 2024 on dozens of brand name products in their portfolios.


  • Merck topped analysts’ earnings and revenue expectations.
  • The Big Pharma giant reported fourth quarter revenue of $14.63 billion – up six percent year over year.
  • Merck’s pharmaceutical division performed strongly, bringing in $13.14 billion in revenue.
  • Blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda booked $6.6 billion in revenue, up 21 percent year over year.
  • Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil also performed strongly, bringing in an additional $1.87 billion in sales.

Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Bristol Myers Squibb smashed Wall Street revenue and earnings estimates, reporting $11.48 billion in revenue.
  • Several of the company’s blockbuster drugs performed strongly, including blood thinning drug Eliquis and cancer immunotherapy Opdivo.
  • Eliquis brought in $2.87 billion in sales for the company while Opdivo brought in an additional $2.39 billion in revenue.
  • Multiple myeloma drug Revlimid brought in another $1.45 billion for the brand name drug maker.


  • AbbVie reported “strong” fourth quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street expectations.
  • Revenue totaled $14.3 billion for the quarter.
  • Several of AbbVie’s blockbuster products brought in mega amounts for the firm, including immunology best-sellers Skyrizi and Rinvoq.
  • Skyrizi brought in $2.39 billion for the company while Rinvoq brought in $1.26 billion.
  • AbbVie’s blockbuster arthritis drug Humira, although facing the loss of its patent exclusivity, still brought in a whopping $3.3 billion.

The expectation-busting earnings come after the brand name drug makers all leveled significant price hikes over the last two years — building on a long history of egregious pricing and anti-competitive tactics.


  • Merck hiked prices on 21 prescription products in its portfolio in January 2024, including 20 which were higher than the 3.4 percent rate of inflation for December, the previous month.
  • Merck started 2023 by raising prices on more than 20 prescription drugs, including blockbuster diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet by 4.9 percent each.
  • Merck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda is on track to become “the highest-selling drug in the world and would be a Fortune 200 company on its own.”
  • In December 2022, Merck announced plans to seek new patents on Keytruda to expand its existing patent thicket on the drug and further extend its monopoly power by blocking competition.
  • Merck hiked prices on nearly 30 prescription drugs in 2022, including five percent increases on blockbuster diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet.
  • Merck increased prices 20 times in 2021 by an average of five percent.

Bristol Myers Squibb:

  • Bristol Myers Squibb kicked off the year by increasing prices on more than ten prescription drugs, including a six percent increase on Eliquis, and another four that were higher than the 3.4 percent rate of inflation for December, the previous month.
  • Bristol Myers Squibb kicked off 2023 by raising prices on nearly 20 prescription drugs, including blockbuster blood thinner Eliquis by six percent.
  • Bristol Myers Squibb began 2022 by hiking prices on more than a dozen prescription drugs.
  • Price hikes last year were launched on two key cancer drugs, Opdivo and Revlimid, as well as blockbuster blood thinner drug Eliquis.
  • Bristol Myers Squibb hiked prices on at least ten medications to start 2021.


  • AbbVie increased prices on 16 prescription drugs to start the year, including a 5.8 percent price increase on Skyrizi and 5 percent price hike on Rinvoq.
  • AbbVie hiked prices on 40 prescription drugs in January 2023, including eight percent increases each on the company’s blockbuster autoimmune drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq.
  • This past July, AbbVie again increased the price of plaque psoriasis drug Skyrizi by four percent.
  • In 2022, AbbVie increased prices on more than 40 prescription drugs.
  • In 2021, the company launched almost 50 price increases across its portfolio.

Read more on Q4 earnings from Johnson & Johnson HERE.

Read more on Q4 earnings from Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline HERE.

And stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for Q4 of 2023.

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