BIG PHARMA EARNINGS WATCH: PFIZER, MERCK, BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB, GLAXOSMITHKLINE AND SANOFI
Big Pharma Giants All Top Analysts’ Expectations as Pharmaceutical Industry Continues to Price-Gouge and Fight Market-Based Solutions to Lower Drug Prices
In another round of blockbuster earnings for the second quarter of the year, Big Pharma giants Pfizer, Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi all reported stellar earnings that topped Wall Street analysts’ expectations. Several of the Big Pharma companies that reported earnings this week also engaged in price hikes earlier this month.
- Pfizer “solidly” beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations for the second quarter.
- The company reported $27.7 billion in sales in Q2 – a 47 percent increase year over year and the “largest quarterly sales figure in the history of the company.”
- The company’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral treatment Paxlovid each brought in more than $8 billion in sales for the quarter.
- Sales of the company’s blood thinner drug Eliquis were up 18 percent in Q2 – bringing in $1.8 billion, while cancer drug Ibrance brought in $1.4 billion and arthritis drug Xeljanz brought in $430 million, respectively.
- Merck topped Wall Street sales and revenue expectations for the second quarter.
- Revenues for the company rose 28 percent year over year to $14.6 billion.
- Merck’s posted net revenue that more than tripled, reaching $3.94 billion.
- The company’s pharmaceutical division performed strongly, bringing in $12.76 billion in the quarter.
- Merck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda generated $5.3 billion in sales in Q2.
- Over the last four quarters, Merck has surpassed analysts’ earnings estimates all four times.
Bristol Myers Squibb
- Bristol Myers Squibb reported strong earnings for Q2, topping analysts’ revenue expectations.
- The company brought in just under $12 billion in the quarter, driven by strong sales of blockbuster products.
- The company’s blockbuster cancer drug Revlimid brought in $2.5 billion – despite increased generic competition in Europe.
- The company’s blood thinner drug Eliquis brought in $3.2 billion, up 16 year over year, while cancer drug Opdivo brought in sales slightly over $2 billion, up eight percent.
- GlaxoSmithKline raised its full year guidance after reporting a 19 percent rise in sales year over year.
- The company beat analysts’ earnings and revenue expectations.
- Sales of the company’s specialty medicines division grew 35 percent year over year.
- The company is making moves this year to acquire other firms – doling out $1.9 billion to purchase cancer drug specialist Sierra Oncology and $3.3 billion to buyout vaccine firm Affinivax.
- Sanofi topped Wall Street analysts’ earnings expectations for the second quarter.
- The company reported $10.2 billion in net sales in Q2, up 8.1 percent.
- Pharmaceutical sales rose 7.9 percent in the quarter, driven by the continued strong performance of popular asthma and eczema drug Dupixent.
The blockbuster earnings come as all five Big Pharma companies have continued to hike prices on their prescription drugs – and share a history of anti-competitive tactics designed to undermine more affordable alternatives and keep prices high.
- Pfizer has already hiked drug prices more than 100 times this year – including on more than 16 products this July.
- Pfizer increased the price of two of its best-selling drugs, cancer treatment Ibrance and rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz – both by more than five percent.
- Pfizer executives have repeatedly pledged to hike prices on the company’s COVID-19 vaccine when the pandemic wanes.
- Breakout drug Vyndaqel is estimated to “become among the most costly cardiovascular treatments ever,” according to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER).
- According to ICER, price hikes on Pfizer’s drug Lyrica were not supported by new clinical evidence and accounted for an unnecessary increase in U.S. drug spending of nearly $700 million from 2017-2018.
- Merck hiked prices on nearly 30 prescription drugs in 2022, including a five percent increase on neuromuscular blockade drug Bridion.
- Merck increased prices 20 times in 2021, including on blockbuster diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet – both by five percent.
- The brand name company also raised the price of HIV therapy treatment Isentress by almost five percent last year.
- Merck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, which brought in $4.58 billion in Q4, is on track to become “the highest-selling drug in the world and would be a Fortune 200 company on its own.”
- In 2020, Merck hiked drug prices at least 45 times.
Bristol Myers Squibb
- Bristol Myers Squibb began 2022 by hiking prices on more than a dozen prescription drugs in January – and continued by hiking prices on an additional six prescription products in July.
- Price hikes so far this year have included 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.
- In 2020, Bristol Myers Squibb hiked prices on at least 15 medications.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sanofi hiked prices on more than 40 prescription drugs in January 2022 – and launched an additional round of price hikes in July.
- Sanofi hiked prices on multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio and rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara by 5.7 percent at the start of the year.
- Sanofi was among the Big Pharma companies who chose to raise prices last July, doing so on key medications in the company’s portfolio despite the unprecedented economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In 2020, Sanofi was caught exploiting charities to boost the company’s bottom line at the expense of taxpayers. In a settlement, Sanofi was ordered to pay the U.S. government nearly $12 million after the company “used a charity that helps cover Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs as a means to pay them kickbacks to use a high-priced multiple sclerosis drug,” Reuters reported.
Read more on second-quarter earnings from Big Pharma giants Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Novartis HERE.
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor earnings calls from Big Pharma for the second quarter of the year next week.
Learn more about bipartisan, market-based solutions to lower prescription drug prices and hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.