Top 10 blockbuster drugs – Diet and Health Today


I recently needed to look up how much the main statin, Lipitor, had earned during its lifetime. This led me to a useful and interesting chart, which reported the top 10 blockbuster drugs by global lifetime sales (Ref 1). I’ve replicated it in this note.

This piqued my interest in what the top 10 blockbuster drugs were for and I thought you might be interested too. The sales value of a drug is the volume sold times the price. Hence lifetime sales indicate the most administered drugs and/or the most expensive drugs. In this note we look at what the top 10 are, who makes them, what they are for, are they a blockbuster because of sales or price, patent expiries, what are the side effects and other interesting findings along the way.

The Top 10

The chart below reports “Projected top 10 pharmaceutical products worldwide based on lifetime sales as of 2026 (in billion US dollars)”. The part in blue is actual sales in billion US dollars as of 2021. The final part in black is the projection to 2026. You can see that two of the top 10 are projected to make more between 2021 and 2026 than they generated by 2021 (Keytruda and Comirnaty).

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