BIG PHARMA EARNINGS WATCH: NOVARTIS, GLAXOSMITHKLINE, AMGEN, ROCHE
Big Pharma Giants Repeatedly Hike Prices and Continue to Beat Wall Street Expectations
This week, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, and Roche all reported earnings for the first quarter. All four Big Pharma giants engaged in price hikes during the COVID-19 pandemic and have a history of engaging in anti-competitive tactics to undermine competition and drive-up prices. All four companies bested Wall Street expectations for the first quarter, with strong showings in the companies’ pharmaceutical divisions. Earnings calls from the brand-name companies further demonstrate that price-gouging American patients continues to prove profitable for Big Pharma.
- Novartis beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations for the first quarter, with revenue rising 42 percent.
- In Q1, Novartis saw sales grow five percent to $12.5 billion, driven by strong sales from heart combo drug Entresto and multiple sclerosis therapy Kesimpta.
- GlaxoSmithKline beat Wall Street sales and earnings forecasts for the first quarter.
- The Big Pharma giant reported strong sales in its pharmaceutical division, bringing in $8.9 billion in the quarter.
- Sales of the company’s shingles treatment Shingrix more than doubled year over year, bringing in $877 million.
- Earlier this year, GSK announced plans to buy Sierra Oncology for $1.9 billion, with plans to boost the company’s cancer drug division.
- Amgen reported Q1 earnings of $4.25 per share, beating Wall Street analysts’ forecasts.
- Over the last four quarters, Amgen has surpassed Wall Street earnings estimates all four times.
- Amgen reported revenue of $6.24 billion in the quarter, compared to $5.9 billion in Q1 of 2021.
- Key performers for the company included osteoporosis drug Prolia, which brought in $852 million, and arthritis drug Otezla, which brought in $451 million.
- Roche topped Wall Street expectations in Q1 with revenues up more than 10 percent.
- Roche’s quarterly sales rose to $17.19 billion, beating the market consensus.
- Roche’s earnings were also up 6 percent driven by sales in the company’s pharmaceutical division, including profits from multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus and hemophilia drug Hemlibra.
The blockbuster earnings come as the Big Pharma giants have hiked prices on dozens of prescription drugs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and have a history of engaging in anti-competitive tactics to limit competition and drive prices higher.
- The brand name giant rang in the 2022 New Year by hiking prices on more than 20 prescription drugs – including a seven percent increase on breast cancer drug Kisqali.
- Novartis increased prices 20 times in 2021 and more than 30 times in 2020, including a seven percent hike on blockbuster psoriasis drug Cosentyx each year.
- Novartis increased prices at least 57 times in 2019 by an average of 6.3 percent.
- Novartis hiked the prices of Cosentyx and Entresto in 2019 by a staggering 10 percent each.
- GlaxoSmithKline has already raised prices on more than 30 drugs in 2022, including on blockbuster respiratory treatment and cancer drug Zejula.
- GSK participated in summer price hikes last year as well, even as Americans battled the economic consequences of the pandemic.
- In 2021, GSK jacked up prices 34 times, including on top-selling respiratory drug Trelegy Ellipta.
- So far this year, Amgen has hiked prices more than a dozen times – including on popular drugs Enbrel and Otezla – by more than seven percent.
- A recent House Committee on Oversight report found that Amgen hiked prices of blockbuster drugs Enbrel and Sensipar to meet revenue targets.
- According to ICER, price hikes on the company’s cancer drug Neulasta were not supported by new clinical evidence and accounted for an unnecessary increase in U.S. drug spending of nearly $500 million from 2017-2018.
- As sales have climbed, Roche has repeatedly hiked prices on products in its portfolio.
- In the first week of 2020, Roche hiked prices on 11 drugs.
- Blockbuster cancer drug Perjeta was named one of the top 25 drugs pushing costs up in Oregon.
- A 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.
Read more on first-quarter earnings from Big Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson HERE.
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for Q1 of 2022 next week.
Learn more about solutions to lower prescription drug prices and hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.