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Big Pharma’s First Quarter Earnings Show Massive Profits As Patients Struggle to Afford Lifesaving Medications

By May 8, 2023No Comments

Manufacturers of Top Selling Drugs in U.S. Reported Nearly $128 Billion in Revenue for the First Three Months of 2023

Despite decreased COVID-19 drug sales, pharmaceutical companies, among the most profitable firms in the country, reported approximately $128 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2023. During this period, Eli Lilly spent $750 billion on stock buybacks. Meanwhile, more than a third of Americans report not filling a prescription they need because they can’t afford it.

For too long, drug companies have been able to charge whatever they want, gouge whoever they want and profit as much as they can. President Biden and Democrats passed a plan to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, which takes effect in 2026. Congress should build on this and expand Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices.

A Closer Look at Big Pharma’s Q1 2023 Earnings

  • AbbVie reported quarterly revenue of $12.2 billion
  • Amgen reported quarterly revenue of $6.1 billion
  • AstraZeneca reported quarterly revenue of $10.9 billion, driven by a 15 percent increase in non-COVID revenues.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb reported quarterly revenue of $11.3 billion in the first three months of 2023 and told investors they expect to earn more this year than previously expected.
  • Eli Lilly reported nearly $7 billion in revenue following 10 percent growth in non-COVID drug sales. The company informed investors that they are on track to make nearly $1 billion more than their expected annual revenue. Eli Lilly rewarded investors by spending $750 million on stock buybacks.
  • Gilead reported nearly $6.4 billion in revenue, despite significantly lower remdesivir sales.
  • Johnson and Johnson reported $24.7 billion in revenue. The company spent nearly all of its quarterly net profits on its talc powder-related lawsuits.
  • Merck reported revenue of nearly $14.5 billion for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Novartis reported $13.2 billion in revenue.
  • Pfizer reported revenue of nearly $18.3 billion for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Regeneron reported quarterly revenue of $3.2 billion.

Pharma Executives Brag About Strong Performance

“In Q1 2023…we returned just over $1 billion to shareholders in dividends and repurchased $700 million in stock.” [Eli Lilly Q1 Earnings Call, Anat Ashkenazi, 4/27/23]

“This performance is really quite remarkable when you consider that a 15% growth in revenue from our ex-COVID medicines. Core earnings per share grew 6% compared to the first quarter of 2022.” [AstraZeneca Q1 Earnings Call, Pascal Soriot, 4/27/23]

“We’re off to an excellent start in 2023 with each of our five key therapeutic areas meeting or exceeding our first quarter expectations…Total net revenues were $12.2 billion, approximately $400 million ahead of our expectations.” [AbbVie Q1 Earnings Call, Rob Michael, 4/27/23]