8. Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly spent more than one-third of its gross revenue in the first nine months of 2019 on buybacks and dividends. (Eli Lilly)

Company: Eli Lilly
Revenue in 2019: $16.21 billion
Value of repurchased stock 2019: $4.1 billion
Value of repurchased stock 2018: $3.05 billion
Dividends paid 2019: $1.82 billion
Dividends paid 2018: $1.42 billion
*All figures are first- to third-quarter totals.

It's been a tough year for Eli Lilly as the drugmaker lowered its year-end financial forecast to account for cost-cutting measures and debt service nipping at its bottom line. Despite those challenges, Lilly's shareholders have walked away with their pockets full as the company restructures around a stable of new launches.

Lilly spent $4.1 billion in stock buybacks in the first nine months of 2019 and $1.82 billion in dividends. The prior year, the drugmaker shelled out $3.05 billion in buybacks and $1.42 billion in dividends during the same time period. 

Lilly's R&D expenses were largely in line with its shareholder benefits, hitting $4.01 billion in the first three quarters of 2019 and $3.66 billion during the same period in 2018. 

Lilly shelled out shareholder payments as part of an $8 billion repurchase program authorized by its board in June 2018, the company said in an SEC filing. As of Sept. 30, the drugmaker had $1.8 billion remaining in that program. 

RELATED: Chuffed by new launches, Eli Lilly unveils Street-beating 2020 sales forecast 

"We believe that cash generated from operations, along with available cash and cash equivalents, will be sufficient to fund our normal operating needs, including dividends, share repurchases under our share repurchase program, and capital expenditures," the company said in its filing.

Like its peers in diabetes, Lilly has dealt with years of pricing pressure and ballooning rebates, but it’s adapted by boosting its presence in other areas and cost-cutting. In September 2017, the drugmaker unveiled a round of 3,500 layoffs—mostly through early retirements—aimed at saving $500 million annually.  

8. Eli Lilly

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