Life takes many turns, but there are some things that change little. In the pharmaceutical world, news, both medical and regulatory, are the order of the day and, nevertheless, there are drugs that, no matter how much they kill them, are still very much alive.
This is the case of Humira, one of the great blockbusters of the 21st century that this year will be the best-selling one, and has already led this classification for several courses. According to analysts’ projections, the biological drug will close to 20 billion sales worldwide despite the fact that its patents are falling each year. Not surprisingly, the owner of this molecule, Abbvie, already has her replacement to continue reigning in the classification, Rinvoq, although it will take her a while to reach the high levels.
But nothing is forever and Humira’s hegemony has its days numbered. The person in charge will be one of the icons in the advancement of the fight against cancer: Keytruda. MSD released this drug a few years ago and it has enormous potential. In fact, in this decade analysts are not clear on what his ceiling will be, but they do agree that he will become king.
In fact, by the year 2024 it will have ousted Humira due to the persistent annual wear and tear of its sales. This year it is calculated about 16,800 million euros and in 2024 it will reach 17,000. What’s more, in three years, analysts agree that it will not have a close rival in sales matters.
Along with Keytruda, another of the great drugs in recent years has been Opdivo, marketed by BMS. This molecule will be far from its oncological rival this year (it will have approximately half of sales), but the American company assured itself a few years ago to be one of the great protagonists in oncology.
In January 2019, it starred in the largest acquisition in the pharmaceutical world. He bought Celgene for more than 70,000 million euros and one of the drugs that became part of his portfolio was Revlimid, a molecule that this year will close to 13,000 million in turnover. BMS also shares with Pfizer the parental authority of Eliquis, the most successful anticoagulant today and whose sales will reach 10,500 million euros in 2021. Today, BMS therefore has three of the six best-selling molecules and, with the exception of Revlimid,
The fifth best-selling drug is from Bayer. Eylea, an ophthalmic drug for macular degeneration, will have sales of 8.8 billion euros in 2021. However, its future will not be so encouraging. This pathology is being investigated by more pharmaceutical companies and the competition will move up a notch in the next few years (in fact, it is already happening in some markets). One of them is marketed by Novartis, Beovu, although it was approved in Europe in early 2020 and has yet to row to reach Eylea’s quotas. All in all, Bayer’s drug, in 2024, will have lost about 1,500 million.
The German company also has another drug in this top ten of best-selling drugs. It is Xarelto, an anticoagulant drug that competes with the one mentioned above from Pfizer and BMS. The turnover that it will reach this year, 7,600 million euros, places it in ninth place and its outlook for 2024 is downward. These oral anticoagulants came to replace the historic sintrom, but in Spain, for example, they have had a very complicated commercial development, with numerous administrative obstacles that have prevented their turnover from being higher. In fact, in Spain there is the paradox that some communities offer it and others pose difficulties.
The ranking of the best-selling drugs is completed by Janssen and Gilead. The first has two drugs with different paths. Although the oncologist Imbruvica, currently in ninth place and with sales forecast for this year of 7,600 million euros, will become the fifth best-selling drug in the world in three years, Stelara’s luck (psoriasis) will be reversed. Currently the latter is in seventh place, but in the coming years it will gradually lose positions and sales. All in all, it will be a molecule that reports between seven and eight million annually to the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.
The Covid Vaccine
This classification does not include vaccines against the coronavirus. Both AstraZeneca and Janssen have not made their serum profitable (0.6% and 7.5% of their first half revenues) but Pfizer and Moderna have. The first, until June, reported that its dose had reported 9,600 million euros (a third of the total for the entire company). To that figure, we should add what was harvested by BionTech (7,300 million). The sum would practically make the vaccine the best-selling drug in 2021. Moderna, if it maintains the data harvested until June, would be placed at approximately 10 billion.