It is well-known that the pharmaceutical industry makes colossal profits across the globe, hence the ominous nickname of ”Big Pharma”. Worldwide pharmaceutical market revenue reached a jaw-dropping $1.4 trillion in 2022. So which pharmaceutical companies were the most profitable? The most profitable pharmaceutical company in the world in 2022 was Pfizer, which raked in $31.37 billion, or $994.80 per second! A significant portion of these profits likely came from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as well as Paxlovid, a medication used for the treatment of COVID-19. There are several reasons why big pharma is so profitable. First, pharmaceutical companies tend to focus their efforts on creating drugs that will make the most money, including used to treat common, chronic ailments. Pharmaceutical companies also rely heavily on patents to ensure their profits. For example, the highly sought-after immunosuppressive drug Humira is protected by at least 132 patents owned by AbbVie. This prevents competition, which allows drug prices to remain unchallenged. Drug patents last for 20 years in the U.S., which means that drugs can stay at these unchecked prices for many years. Massive profit margins, outsourcing development risk, and lobbying also play big roles in the profitability of big pharmaceutical companies.
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