Top 10 pharmaceutical companies in Europe

Olivia Minnock
- Top 10 - Nov 08, 2017

Here is a list of the top ten pharmaceutical companies with the highest revenues in Europe...  

10. Accord (formerly Actavis)
Actavis, previously known as Watson Pharmaceuticals, was acquired by Accord Healthcare in 2017. The group is now one of the fastest growing companies in the UK and Ireland, and Actavis Generics’ current revenue recorded for 2016 is $13.06bn, with its operating income just over $1bn. The company currently employs over 21,600 people and is based in Dublin and Parsippany.

It has 40 manufacturing facilities and 27 other units focused on marketing, sales, global research and development. Founded by two doctors, Allen Chao and David Hsai, in March of 1984, the parent company is Teva Pharmaceuticals, a European outfit that also made our top ten.

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9. Novo Nordisk
With offices in 75 countries, Novo Nordisk is headquartered in Bagsværd, Denmark. The company focuses on medications for diabetes, haemostasis management, hormone replacement and hormone growth therapy.

$18.33bn in revenue helps to employ over 41,000 people around the world. Fortune magazine has ranked Novo Nordisk as one of the top 100 companies to work for around the world and it has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies on the planet by Corporate Knights.

8. Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim takes its name from its founder and founding city: the company was founded by Albert Boehringer in Ingleheim am Rhein, Germany, where it remains headquartered today. Since 1885, the organisation has been one of the 20 leading pharmaceutical businesses in the world.

With $19.1bn in revenue and $3.49bn in operating assets, Boehringer Ingelheim should not be moving off of the top 10 list for quite some time. The company focuses the majority of its efforts in oncology, metabolism, immunology, respiratory disease and central nervous system diseases. Its history of successful acquisitions continues to help grow the brand while expanding its reach into new areas of research and development.

7. AstraZeneca
Before it moved its headquarters to Cambridge in 2013, AstraZeneca operated out of its native Sweden. Just under $21.7bn in revenue puts the company squarely in the middle of the top 10 European pharmaceutical businesses, even with a comparatively youthful age of 18 years - a line of successful acquisitions has helped to grow the company. These acquisitions include Definiens, MedImmune, Spirogen and Cambridge Antibody Technology. The company’s primary stock listing is in London.

6. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
The parent company of Actavis is one of the leading manufacturers in generic drugs in the world, although it has proprietary pharmaceuticals under its massive umbrella of services as well. $21.9bn in revenue helps to employ over 43,000 people around the world, and an operating income of just under $4bn ensures the longevity of the company.

The latest acquisitions of Teva include Ratiopharm, a $5bn deal that significantly increased the reach of Teva into remote parts of Europe. In terms of proprietary pharmaceuticals, Teva recently purchased Cephalon for just under $7bn.

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5. GlaxoSmithKline
Brentford, London serves as the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company that is a product of the merger between SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome. The company also made headlines by appointing its first female CEO, Emma Walmsley, in March of 2017. She currently stands at the helm of a $36.8bn revenue stream and a $3.4bn operating income. 

4. Sanofi
Sanofi is the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of prescription sales. The company has around $40.72bn in revenue and $7.9bn in operating income. Sanofi currently employs 110,000 people and has many subsidiaries under its umbrella, including Genzyme, Chattem, Zentiva, Medley, Nichi-Iko and Sanofi Pasteur.

Sanofi Pasteur holds the distinction of being the world's number one producer of vaccines. Overall, Sanofi focuses on seven major areas: vaccines, oncology, thrombosis, internal medicine, diabetes, and the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.

3. Novartis
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis focuses on OTC drugs, contact lenses, animal health and diagnostics, among many other pharmaceutical disciplines. Novartis generated $48.518bn in revenue in 2016 and worked from $8.268bn of operating income. As of 2015, the company employed 118,700 people around the world. Its subsidiaries include the Chiron Corporation, Ciba Vision and Sandoz.

Novartis was also ranked seventh on the Access to Medicine Index, which is a measure of how effectively pharmaceutical companies make their solutions available to the poorest people around the world. Counting the histories of its parent companies Ciba Geigy and Sandoz Labs, the lifespan of Novartis is more than 250 years.

2. Roche
Roche is the stylised and shortened name for F. Hoffman-La Roche AG, the worldwide pharmaceutical company with two huge divisions: Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals. Together, the Roche subsidiaries generated over $53.48bn in revenue in 2016, with $14.878bn in operating income. A few of the biggest subsidiaries under the Roche umbrella include Genentech, Chugai Pharmaceuticals and Ventana.

Descendants of the founding families still own over half of the bearer shares. Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical on this list, owns approximately 5% of Roche shares. Roche has increased its dividend for 30 years running.

1. Bayer
Bayer is also known as Bayer AG. The company focuses on high value polymers, agricultural chemicals, biotech products, veterinary pharmaceuticals and consumer health care products. Bayer controlled $56.3bn in revenues in 2016 and worked from $8.48bn in operating income. Bayer actually holds the trademark to the name ‘heroin’ although it no longer markets diacetylmorphine as a cough suppressant as it did in 1898.

Today, Bayer is focused on the products of its recent acquisitions, including Dr. Scholl's, Coppertone and Claritin. Through its BayerCropscience subsidiary, Bayer also develops pesticides and genetically-modified crops as well as polycarbonates and polyurethanes.

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