Pfizer Inc. (PFE) is a leading global biopharmaceutical company based in New York. The company makes money by developing and manufacturing drug treatments to promote health and prevent disease. Its single operating segment spans a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, internal medicine, hospital, vaccines, inflammation and immunology, and rare diseases. In FY 2020, Pfizer generated $9.6 billion in net income on $41.9 billion in annual revenue. The company's market capitalization was $280.1 billion, as of market close on Aug. 20, 2021.

Pfizer's best-selling drugs in FY 2020 were: Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13, a pneumococcal disease vaccine, which generated $5.9 billion in revenue; Ibrance, used to treat certain breast cancers, which brought in $5.4 billion; and Eliquis, used to treat nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, and which generated $4.9 billion

Several other large, global drug manufacturers present Pfizer with significant competition. They include Roche Holding AG (RHHBY), Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY), AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), Novartis AG (NVS), and Merck & Co. (MRK). We take a closer look at these five giants of the pharmaceutical industry below. They are ranked by market cap as of the close of trading on Aug. 20, 2021. Roche Holdings' revenue for specific drugs were converted from Swiss francs to U.S. dollars on Aug. 23, 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Pfizer is one of the leading companies in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
  • Pfizer's top-selling drugs in FY 2020 were Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13, Ibrance, and Eliquis.
  • Pfizer's main competitors are Roche Holding AG, Eli Lilly and Co., AbbVie Inc., Novartis AG, and Merck & Co.

Roche Holding AG (RHHBY)

  • Market Cap: $344.4 billion
  • FY 2020 Revenue: $62.2 billion
  • FY 2020 Net Income: $15.3 billion
  • Top Drug by Revenue (FY 2020): Avastin
  • Revenue from Top Drug (FY 2020): $5.5 billion

Roche Holding is a global healthcare company with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Its business is organized into two main divisions: pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. The company develops drugs and treatments across a range of areas, including oncology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, immunology, cardiovascular and metabolism, ophthalmology, and respiratory. Roche's top-selling drug in FY 2020 was Avastin, which is used to treat advanced colorectal, breast, lung, kidney, cervical and ovarian cancer, relapsed glioblastoma, and liver cancer. Other top-selling medicines in FY 2020 include: neuroscience drug Ocrevus, which brought in $4.7 billion in revenue; and oncology drug Perjeta, which generated $4.3 billion.

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY)

  • Market Cap: $257.6 billion
  • FY 2020 Revenue: $24.5 billion
  • FY 2020 Net Income: $6.2 billion
  • Top Drug by Revenue (FY 2020): Trulicity
  • Revenue from Top Drug (FY 2020): $5.1 billion

Eli Lilly is a global drug manufacturing company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Its business focuses on the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of human pharmaceutical products. Those products span different therapeutic areas, including diabetes, oncology, immunology, neuroscience, and more. Eli Lilly's top-selling drug in FY 2020 was Trulicity, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes as well as reduce the risk of significant adverse cardiovascular events. Other top-selling medicines in FY 2020 include: diabetes drug Humalog, which generated $2.6 billion in revenue; and oncology drug Alimta, which brought in $2.3 billion.

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

  • Market Cap: $211.4 billion
  • FY 2020 Revenue: $45.8 billion
  • FY 2020 Net Income: $4.6 billion
  • Top Drug by Revenue (FY 2020): Humira
  • Revenue from Top Drug (FY 2020): $19.8 billion

AbbVie is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Chicago. The company's single business segment is engaged in the research and development, manufacturing, commercialization, and sale of innovative medicines and therapies. Its products span a range of healthcare-related areas, including immunology, oncology, aesthetics, neuroscience, eye care, women's health, and more. AbbVie's top-selling drug in FY 2020 was Humira, which is a biologic therapy used to treat a number of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, adult Crohn's disease, and others. Other top-selling drugs in FY 2020 include: hermatologic oncology drug Imbruvica, which brought in $5.3 billion in revenue; and hepatitis C virus drug Mavyret, which generated $1.8 billion.

Novartis AG (NVS)

  • Market Cap: $210.0 billion
  • FY 2020 Revenue: $49.9 billion
  • FY 2020 Net Income: $8.1 billion
  • Top Drug by Revenue (FY 2020): Cosentyx
  • Revenue from Top Drug (FY 2020): $4.0 billion

Novartis is a global healthcare company with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Its business is organized into two primary divisions: innovative medicines, which develops patent-protected, prescription medications; and Sandoz, which develops generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. The company's focus areas include oncology, immunology, hepatology, dermatology, ophthalmology, neuroscience, cardiovascular, renal, metabolism, and respiratory. Novartis' top-selling drug in FY 2020 was Cosentyx, which is an injectable, fully-human, monoclonal antibody used to treat several immunological diseases. Other top-selling drugs in FY 2020 include: neuroscience drug Gilenya, which generated revenue of $3.0 billion; and cardiovascular, renal, and metabolism drug Entresto, which brought in $2.5 billion in revenue.

Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK)

  • Market Cap: $198.7 billion
  • FY 2020 Revenue: $48.0 billion
  • FY 2020 Net Income: $7.1 billion
  • Top Drug by Revenue (FY 2020): Keytruda
  • Revenue from Top Drug (FY 2020): $14.4 billion

Merck is a global healthcare company based in Kenilworth, New Jersey. The company offers prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products. Its two operating segments are pharmaceutical and animal health. It offers a variety of treatments across a wide range of areas, including oncology, vaccines, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, diabetes, women's health, livestock products, and companion animal products. Merck's top-selling drug in FY 2020 was Keytruda, which is used to treat patients with a range of different types of cancer, such as cervical cancer, classical Hodgkin Lymphoma, certain lung cancers, and numerous others. Other top-selling drugs in FY 2020 include: diabetes drugs Januvia/Janumet, which brought in $5.3 billion of revenue; and Human Papillomavirus vaccines Gardasil/Gardasil 9, which generated $3.9 billion in revenue.