So just how big, corrupt, and downright shady is big pharma?
1. 50%, or 1 in 2, Americans are on at least one prescription drug.
2. 25% of all U.S. women, or 1 in 4, are taking a prescription drug for mental health.
3. An independent survey found that 66% of all new drugs released on the American market are similar to existing drugs without offering any additional benefit.
4. Just how big and profitable are the top 15 pharma companies? Here is a breakdown by market value:
Johnson & Johnson: $276 billion
Novartis: $273 billion
Roche: $248 billion
Pfizer: $212 billion
Merck: $164 billion
Sanofi: $134 billion
Bayer: $123 billion
Novo-Nordisk: $118 billion
Bristol-Myers Squibb: $115 billion
AbbVie: $110 billion
GlaxoSmithKline: $103 billion
Eli Lilly: $98 billion
AstraZeneca: $84 billion
Teva Pharmaceutical: $59 billion
Shire: $49 billion
5. To put that in perspective, top pharma firms Johnson & Johnson and Novartis are each worth more than the Gross Domestic Product of countries like Finland, Chile, Hong Kong, Ireland, Pakistan, etc., and would rank in the top 40 economies in the world!
6. It’s estimated that global expenditures for prescription drugs are now over $1.1 trillion each year.
7. To put that number in context, the total U.S. budget for discretionary spending in 2015 was $1.1 trillion (a trillion is a thousand billions!), including our total expenditures for food and agriculture, social security, unemployment and labor, transportation, Medicare, education, veteran’s benefits, science, energy, environment, and governmental spending.
8. At least four of the world’s ten largest pharmaceutical companies are now American.
9. North America holds 41.8% market share for the entire world’s pharmaceuticals. (The EU has about 26.8% market share and the rest of the world combined adds up to the remaining 31.4%.)
10. Through the 21st century, super drug producers like the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe are expected to rise to over 85% of all market share.
11. As of 2014, pharma companies were spending around $4.53 billion on ad campaigns every year, and increasing at a rate of about 18% year over year. Ad spending is actually down from an all-time high of $5.4 billion in 2006. To put that in perspective, Coca Cola spent “only” $3.3 billion in advertising in 2014.
12. Pfizer spends the most on advertising ($1.4 billion that year), while Eli Lilly spent $272 million in ads just on their erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, the most of any individual product.
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