Many U.S. companies not top drugsellers in U.S.

It is perhaps no surprise that the largest drug manufacturer last year in the U.S. was Pfizer ($PFE) based in U.S. sales.

But it is a bit of a surprise the second-largest was London-based AstraZeneca ($AZN), and while Merck ($MRK)  is third, it is Novartis ($NVS) at four and Teva Pharmaceutical ($TEVA) at five. What companies are at 9 and 10? Try Amgen ($AMGN) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), according to a ranking of the top 20 by Medical Marketing and Media.

The report says spending on branded drugs in the U.S. increased 2.2% in actual dollars to $258 billion from $252 billion, based on data from IMS Health.

The growth was fueled to some degree by new product launches, but the publication points out that patent expirations are expected to reduce worldwide sales by $120 billion through 2015.

And while pipelines are improving, Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson tells MM&M that no company has more pending launches than pending expirations.

- here's the MM&M story