Big Pharma Earnings Watch: Novartis

Jul 18, 2019

Drug Makers’ Shares Hit ‘All-Time High’ Off Of Price-Gouging American Patients

Today Big Pharma giant Novartis announced better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter of 2019.

The brand name drug maker reported $11.76 billion in sales in Q2 – up from $11.34 billion last year – beating analysts’ expectations. As a result, the company raised its earnings outlook for the second time this year as shares rose to an “all-time high.”

The Swiss drug manufacturer pointed to higher sales from Cosentyx and Entresto:

  • Cosentyx sales increased 25% to $858 million.
  • Entresto sales increased 81% to $421 million.
It should come as no surprise that Novartis increased the price of Cosentyx and Entresto earlier this year.
  • Novartis Increased Prices On Three Of Their Top Performing Drugs, Which Are Expected To Earn An Additional $1 Billion Dollars For The Company. “In addition to Cosentyx (secukinumab) and Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan), Novartis also raised the list price on Gilenya (fingolimod) by 4.5%.  Those three medicines combined to earn Novartis nearly $4 billion in U.S. sales last year, Cowen estimates, a figure which is expected to grow to nearly $5 billion in 2019.”(Andrew Dunn, “Pfizer, Novartis, Amgen Add To 2019 Drug Price Hikes,” Biopharma Dive, 1/25/19)
But it’s not just Cosentyx and Entresto that increased in price. Novartis announced plans to raise prices on more than 100 indications of over 30 different drugs this year. The company said prices would rise on its domestic-selling drugs by 14%, with an average list price increase of 4.7% – yet another blow to American patients who struggle to afford their medications.

Novartis is the second Big Pharma company so far to beat profit expectations this quarter after hiking prices on its prescription drugs in 2019. Yesterday Johnson & Johnson also announced higher-than-expected earnings. More earnings reports will come next week.

Without greater accountability, Big Pharma will continue to jack up prices at the expense of patients in order to boost their profits. That’s why we need market-based solutions to lower prescription drug prices and deliver relief for American patients.