Jul 20, 2023

Big Pharma Giants Kick Off Q2 Earnings On Heels of July Price Hikes

This week, brand name drug makers Novartis and Johnson & Johnson kicked off the first round of Big Pharma earnings reports for the second quarter of 2023. Both Big Pharma giants surpassed Wall Street analysts’ expectations and posted massive profits after having engaged in price hikes this year.


  • Novartis reported earnings that beat Wall Street profit and earnings expectations.
  • The Big Pharma company raked in sales of $13.6 billion for the quarter and profit of $4.67 billion.
  • Sales were up seven percent and profit was up nine percent.
  • The company’s best-selling drug, heart treatment Entresto, brought in $1.5 billion for the quarter.
  • Other prescription drugs that performed well include arthritis drug Cosentyx, which brought in $1.3 billion, and multiple sclerosis drug Kesimpta, which brought in $489 million.
  • The company announced on its earnings call that it would be launching a second share buyback program for the year, amounting to $15 billion. The company just recently completed an earlier buyback program of roughly the same size.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Johnson & Johnson’s second-quarter earnings and sales topped Wall Street analysts’ expectations.
  • The Big Pharma giant posted $25.53 billion in sales for the quarter, up 6.3 percent.
  • The company’s pharmaceutical division performed strongly, posting sales of $13.73 billion.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s strong performance was driven by “gains in sales of cancer drugs,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and were up over three percent year over year.
  • The company’s cancer medications Darzalex, Erleada and Stelara all contributed to the company’s strong earnings report.

The strong earnings reports come as Big Pharma continues to price-gouge patients, including hiking prices on more than 100 medications to start out the month of July. The industry started 2023 by increasing prices on nearly 600 brand-name drugs as well. Novartis and Johnson & Johnson both have histories of hiking prices on blockbuster products and engaging in egregious pricing practices and anti-competitive conduct to the detriment of patients.


  • Novartis hiked prices on 74 prescription in January of this year, including breast cancer drug Kisqali by eight percent.
  • So far this July, the drug maker has engaged in an additional 10 price increases.
  • Last summer, Novartis raised the price of Adakveo, a popular treatment for sickle cell disease for adults.
  • Novartis began 2022 by hiking prices on more than 20 prescription drugs, including a seven percent increase on Kisqali.
  • Novartis increased prices 20 times in January of 2021 and more than 30 times in 2020, including a seven percent hike on blockbuster psoriasis drug Cosentyx each year.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Johnson & Johnson started 2023 by hiking prices on over 30 prescription products.
  • The Big Pharma manufacturer also started out 2022 by hiking prices on close to 30 prescription medications – at an average rate of five percent.
  • In January of 2021, the company hiked prices on more than 25 prescription drugs.
  • Spending on the company’s blockbuster cancer drug Imbruvica is expected to exceed $41 billion between 2027-2036 thanks to an anti-competitive patent scheme that extended a monopoly on the high-priced cancer drug by more than nine years. Imbruvica costs an eye-popping $180,000 per year.
  • Recently, Johnson & Johnson entered a settlement with fellow drug maker Amgen, to delay the entry of biosimilar competition to its blockbuster cancer drug Stelara until at least 2025.

Stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for Q2 of 2023 over the next few weeks.

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