- Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck & Co. continue to live up to their big pharma titles, having yet again secured top spots among drug companies on the latest Fortune 500 list.
- By ranking, J&J was 37, Pfizer 57 and Merck 78. Eight other drugmakers also made the list: Abbvie at 110; Gilead Sciences at 116; Eli Lilly at 129; Amgen at 130; Bristol-Myers Squibb at 145; Celgene at 224; Biogen at 245 and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals at 473.
- Fortune bases its rankings off yearly revenues. To be considered, a company must file some kind of annual financial document with a government agency and be incorporated in the U.S. — meaning large foreign players like Novartis and Roche weren't eligible.
Drug companies have weathered recent economic uncertainties better than others. Last year, the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index — considered a bellwether of how healthy the industry is — climbed more than 21%.
Fortune's latest list offers further evidence of the trend. Of the 11 pharmaceutical companies included, 10 had made last year's installment. Regeneron is the lone newcomer.
Additionally, most of the returning companies are in similar positions. Celgene and Gilead represent the biggest exceptions, with the former climbing 30 spots from the 2017 list and the latter dropping 24.
Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck fell two spots, three spots and nine spots, respectively, from their prior year placements. Still, the big pharmas recorded eye-popping annual revenues of $77 billion, $53 billion and $40 billion, collectively more than the combined revenue from the other eight drugmakers on the list. According to Fortune, each of the three companies have been on its 500 list for 24 years.
|Company||2018 Fortune 500 Ranking||Annual Revenue per 2018 list (in billions)||2017 Fortune 500 Ranking|
|Johnson & Johnson||37||$77||35|
|Merck & Co.||78||$40||69|
At a higher level, there were 40 healthcare companies included on the new list, two more than in 2017.
Major pharmacy benefit managers and insurers yet again raked in more revenue than their big pharma counterparts. UnitedHealth Group, for instance, fetched $201 billion in its last fiscal year and ranked fifth overall. CVS Health came in at seventh with $184 billion, while Express Scripts secured the 25th spot with $100 billion. Anthem was the last healthcare company to beat J&J, sporting $90 billion in annual revenue.