BEST SELLING DRUGS OF 2023 | TOP 10 DRUGS BY REVENUES
Year revenues (2023)
$ 12.0 billion
$ 7.5 billion
$ 6.7 billion
$ 6.6 billion
$ 5.7 billion
$ 5.3 billion
$ 5.2 billion
$ 4.7 billion
$ 4.4 billion
$ 4.3 billion
1. Keytruda (pembrolizumab) - $12.0 billion
Keytruda (pembrolizumab) belongs to a class of medications called immune checkpoint inhibitors. Keytruda acts by helping the immune system in fighting the cancer.
Mechanism of action: Keytruda acts by blocking the PD-1 pathway, a pathway which helps cancer cells from hiding from the T-cells. T cells are involved in fighting against infections and diseases, including cancer.
Keytruda is approved for more than sixteen indications, and Merck conducting over 1,600 clinical trials. While for some indications, it is indicated along with chemotherapy, for other indications, it is administered as monotherapy or along with other cancer therapies.
The major indications include:
Non-small cell lung cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer.
Head and neck squamous cell cancer.
Colon or rectal cancer.
Esophageal or certain gastroesophageal junction carcinoma.
Renal cell cancer.
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
The drug was approved in 2014. The sales of Keytruda increased by 21% in Q2 of 2023 compared to 2022.
The drug is under regulatory review for multiple indications, including 2L hepatocellular carcinoma, adjuvant NSCLC in Europe, HER2+ gastric cancer in the EU, resectable NSCLC in the EU and US, 1L biliary cancer in the US, the EU, and Japan.
2. Humira (adalimumab) - $ 7.5 billion
Humira is a biologic medication used to treat autoimmune diseases, including Crohn's disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, non-infectious uveitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and pediatric ulcerative colitis. It works by suppressing the overactive immune response responsible for these conditions.
Humira has preferred coverage in more than 97% of commercial patients in the US.
3. Ozempic (semaglutide) - $6.7 billion
Ozempic medication treats type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar and promoting weight loss. It is an injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that has been well-received by patients and healthcare providers for its effectiveness and convenience.
Ozempic is approved for adult patients with type 2 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes who have an established cardiovascular disease.
Mechanism of action: Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide one receptor agonist and is the most preferred molecule with this mechanism of action.
Novo Nordisk is providing patient support programs, including a co-pay of $25 per three months. It has preferred coverage among most commercial plans and Medicare Part D in the US.
4. Eliquis (apixaban) - $6.6 billion
Eliquis is an anticoagulant medication approved for preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), treating DVT and pulmonary embolism, and reducing the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with NVAF. It is considered safer and more convenient than traditional blood thinners, as it requires less monitoring and has a lower risk of bleeding complications.
Mechanism of action: Eliquis is a factor Xa inhibitor. In patients whose atrial fibrillation is not because of heart valve problems, the risk of blood clots and stroke will be reduced with Eliquis treatment.
Pfizer and BMS offer multiple savings, including a free 30-day trial and a $10 co-pay card.
5. Biktarvy (bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) - $5.7 billion
Biktarvy is a once-daily, single-tablet regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. This combination therapy has simplified HIV treatment, offering effective viral suppression with minimal side effects, improving adherence and patient outcomes. It represents a significant advancement in the management of HIV.
Mechanism of action: DNA polymerase inhibitor.
Biktarvy is the most prescribed regimen for HIV-1 treatment in the US and is the best seller of Gilead. High barrier to resistance and established long-term data are helping the uptake of drug.
6. Dupixent (dupilumab) - $5.3 billion
Dupixent is a breakthrough medication for severe allergic conditions like atopic dermatitis (eczema) and asthma. It helps to alleviate symptoms by targeting specific inflammatory pathways. Dupixent has provided hope and relief to individuals with limited treatment options for these chronic conditions.
Dupixent is approved for multiple indications, which include atopic dermatitis, asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, eosinophilic esophagitis, and prurigo nodularis.
Mechanism of action: Interleukin 13 inhibitors; Interleukin 4 inhibitor
Dupixent MyWay is the patient support program through which Sanofi and Regeneron provide financial assistance and one-on-one nursing support.
7. Stelara (ustekinumab) - $5.2 billion
Stelara is another biological medication primarily used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It works by targeting specific immune proteins involved in these conditions. Stelara's effectiveness and relatively low side-effect profile have made it a game-changer for those suffering from these chronic skin and joint diseases.
Mechanism of action: Interleukin 12/23 inhibitors.
8. Darzalex (daratumumab) - $4.7 billion
Darzalex is a monoclonal antibody used to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
Darzalex is approved for treating multiple myeloma.
Mechanism of action: Darzalex is a CD38-targeted monoclonal antibody. The drug is attached to the CD38 protein on the surface of multiple myeloma cells, thereby killing the cell or helping the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
9. Gardasil (human papillomavirus quadrivalent vaccine) - $4.4 billion
Gardasil is a groundbreaking vaccine that protects against several strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus known to cause cervical cancer, and Gardasil has played a crucial role in reducing the incidence of this deadly disease. Additionally, it helps prevent other HPV-related cancers and genital warts.
Gardasil revenues are growing rapidly; the revenues increased by 53% year-on-year in Q2 of 2023. The demand in China is driving the growth of the vaccine.
10. Opdivo (nivolumab) - $4.3 billion
Opdivo is another immune checkpoint inhibitor, similar to Keytruda, but it is used to treat a broader range of cancers. The drug is approved for non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, gastric or esophageal cancer, melanoma, urothelial carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Mechanism of action: Opdivo acts by acts by blocking the PD-1 pathway.