The earnings reports for the biggest of Big Pharma are all in. Bayer reported last week, making it possible to see how they stacked up as they came into the new year. There are no big surprises. Pfizer ($PFE) and Merck & Co. ($MRK), with ongoing patent issues and reorganizations, saw their positions fall a couple of notches, and AbbVie ($ABBV), having been spun off from Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) at the beginning of the year, didn't quite make the top 10. Its disappearance allowed Eli Lilly & Co. ($LLY) to make the list. It also helped Bayer HealthCare move up a couple of notches. Here's last year's special report if you make comparisons.
After the major patent crashes of 2012, last year was more of a transitional period. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Novartis ($NVS), Roche ($RHHBY), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Eli Lilly and Bayer saw their revenues rise, although only J&J and Bayer had an appreciable change. Bayer's pharma revenues, combined with its consumer health unit, saw revenue growth of 7.6% based on dollars. J&J's number was up 6.7%, driven in large part by its pharma division. The others were flat or had growth of less than 3%.
Pfizer, Sanofi ($SNY), Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca ($AZN) were on the revenue-eroding end of the spectrum. Patent losses on blockbusters figured into most of the declines. Merck, whose revenues were off 6.8%, lost the patent on Singulair. Pfizer, which has yet to get past the sales erosion from the 2011 patent loss of Lipitor, saw its revenues fade 6%. Interestingly, Lipitor generics also rained on AstraZeneca's revenue parade, cutting sales of its cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor by 9% for the year; AZ's revenues were off 8% across the board. Sanofi's revenues were down 5.7%, undermined by a host of issues, including the patent loss on Plavix.
Still, you have to keep this all in perspective. Those numbers are nothing compared to the 17% revenue free falls that both AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), which doesn't make this year's list, reported last year. As I said, it was a transitional year.
A note on methodology: We drew our figures from companies' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, their annual reports, and information provided during earnings calls. Sales reported in pounds, euros or francs were converted into U.S. dollars.