BIG PHARMA EARNINGS WATCH: MERCK, SANOFI, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB AND ELI LILLY
Four Big Pharma Giants That Hiked Drug Prices on American Patients in 2022 and First Weeks of 2023 All Beat Wall Street Earnings Expectations
Another round of fourth-quarter earnings reports from Merck, Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly show that brand-name drug manufacturers continue to rake in blockbuster profits while price-gouging the American people. All four Big Pharma giants topped Wall Street analysts’ earnings expectations for the fourth quarter and delivered strong profits for the full year. All the companies have already hiked prices on brand name drugs in their portfolios in 2023 — and also increased prices last year.
- Merck topped analysts’ earnings and sales expectations, bringing in $13.8 billion in sales for the quarter and $1.62 earnings per share.
- The pharmaceutical company posted full-year 2022 worldwide sales of $59.3 billion – up 22 percent from the previous year.
- Merck also topped Wall Street profit expectations for the third quarter, reporting Q4 revenue of $23.83 billion.
- Pharmaceutical sales increased again in 2022 to $12.2 billion, primarily driven by Merck’s oncology portfolio.
- Merck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda generated $5.45 billion in Q4 sales – up 19 percent year-over-year.
- Sanofi posted strong profit in the fourth quarter, bringing $1.59 billion.
- The drugmaker also topped analysts’ earnings and income expectations for Q4.
- The pharma giant pulled in $11.6 billion in Q4 sales and $46.5 billion for the full year 2022.
- Sanofi reported a 42 percent increase in Q4 sales for its blockbuster drug Dupixent, totaling $2.6 billion.
- Pharmaceutical sales rose 7.3 percent in the quarter to $8.4 billion, driven by the continued strong performance of the Specialty Care segment.
Bristol Myers Squibb
- Bristol Myers Squibb topped Wall Street revenue and earnings estimates, reporting $11.4 billion in Q4 revenue and $2.02 billion in Q4 earnings.
- The company’s blockbuster cancer drug Revlimid brought in $2.26 billion in the quarter.
- To offset expected lost sales from Revlimid due to generic competition, Bristol Myers Squibb “has been betting on newer products, such as cancer therapies Opdualag and Abecma.”
- The company’s new product portfolio revenues grew 83 percent, with metastatic melanoma treatment Opdualag raking in $252 million and multiple myeloma treatment Abecma earning $388 million.
- According to Goldman Sachs analysts, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s plaque psoriasis drug Sotyktu is “off to a stronger than expected”
- Sales of the company’s oncology drug Opdivo were up 11 percent year-over-year to $2.19 billion.
- Eli Lilly topped Wall Street earnings and profit estimates and reported Q4 revenue of $7.3 billion.
- Blockbuster diabetes drug Mounjaro generated $279.2 million in Q4, with 2023 revenue projections topping $1 billion – on track to become the company’s third best-selling drug.
- Over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates three times.
- Among the top 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly ranks third in 2022 market cap growth, touting $347.6 billion – a 31.6 percent increase over 2021.
The strong earnings calls come as several of the drug makers have leveled significant price hikes to start the year and have a history of engaging in anti-competitive tactics.
- Merck CEO Robert Davis touted the blockbuster earnings, exclaiming “2022 was an exceptional year for Merck.”
- Merck started 2023 by raising prices on more than 20 prescription drugs, including blockbuster diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet by 4.9 percent each.
- Keytruda continues to drive Merck’s portfolio, generating 39 percent of the company’s total worldwide revenue in Q4.
- 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, Merck announced plans to seek new patents on Keytruda to expand its existing patent thicket of 129 filed applications and further extend monopoly power on the drug by blocking competition.
- Merck hiked prices on nearly 30 prescription drugs in 2022, including a five percent increase on blockbuster diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet – both by five percent.
- Merck increased prices 20 times in 2021 – by an average of five percent.
- The brand name company also raised the price of HIV therapy treatment Isentress by almost five percent in 2021.
- Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson announced he intends to achieve sales of nearly $11 billion for Dupixent in 2023.
- Sanofi began the new year by raising prices on more than 20 prescription drugs in January, including blockbuster atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent by six percent.
- Sanofi hiked prices on more than 40 prescription drugs in January 2022 – and engaged in an additional round of price hikes last July.
- Sanofi hiked prices on multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio and rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara by seven percent at the start of last year.
- Sanofi is one of three Big Pharma companies that dominate the insulin market and worked in lockstep for decades to increase prices on the life-saving drug, through an egregious practice called “shadow pricing.”
Bristol Myers Squibb
- Big Pharma CFO David Elkins exclaimed, “2022 was another solid year of execution for Bristol-Myers Squibb.”
- 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 – and continued by hiking prices on an additional six prescription products last July.
- Price hikes last year include 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 out 2021.
- Later in the year, the company reported that research and development expenses decreased 30 percent while simultaneously approving $15 billion in new stock buybacks.
- This was business as usual for Bristol Myers Squibb. From 2015 to 2019, the company had the most price hikes per drug of any Big Pharma company.
- Eli Lilly started 2023 by raising prices on ten prescription drugs, including top-selling diabetes drug Trulicity by five percent.
- Eli Lilly began last year with more than a dozen price hikes, including another five percent increase on Trulicity.
- Last summer, Eli Lilly increased the price of its COVID-19 antibody treatment by an estimated 14 percent as coverage shifted to the commercial market from the U.S. government.
- In 2021, Eli Lilly was among the Big Pharma giants that announced new price hikes despite the ongoing unprecedented economic uncertainty facing millions of Americans grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more on Q4 earnings from Pfizer, Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson HERE.
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for the further quarter of 2022.
Learn more about solutions to lower prescription drug prices and hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.