3. Novartis' Sandoz unit


Novartis' Sandoz unit
Basel, Switzerland
2016 generic sales: $9 billion

With branded and generic sales near the top of the pack, Novartis holds somewhat of a unique position. The drugmaker turned up fourth in FiercePharma’s review of top drugmakers by overall revenue last year, and its Sandoz outfit landed in third place for generic sales.

Sandoz turned in $9 billion in generics revenue last year, according to Evaluate. With its $1 billion in biosimilar sales included, Sandoz raked in $10.1 billion, good for 1% growth versus the previous year.

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The company's numbers illustrate pricing pressures felt around the generics industry. Sandoz grew sales volumes by 9% last year, but that was partially offset by a 6% erosion in price.

Execs expect that trend to continue through 2017. For the current year, Novartis execs are calling for low-single-digit growth from Sandoz, as pricing challenges hitting its peers continue to hurt its own business.

RELATED: More generics consolidation coming? Novartis deal rumors point up the industry's troubles

Last November, the drugmaker was rumored to be considering a purchase of New Jersey-based drugmaker Amneal to further build up its generics business, with RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky writing at the time that pressure for generics M&A will only continue because of pricing erosion.

Stanicky wrote that “the sector needs to consolidate as one of the offsets to this cyclical pressure that we think can get worse.” As of yet, however, Novartis hasn’t struck a deal in generics.

3. Novartis' Sandoz unit