The Top Generic Pharmaceutical Companies

Generic medication manufacturers lead the pharmaceutical industry

Variety of pills and capsules
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Generic pharmaceutical makers have become a formidable segment of the pharmaceutical market. According to the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School, 80% of all drugs prescribed are generic, and generic drugs are chosen 94% of the time when they're available.

Brand-name drug patents typically last about 20 years, and when those patents are up, the ingredients become available to generic manufacturers who then can introduce their own versions of those drugs to the marketplace. Insurance companies traditionally have steered patients toward generic options by offering lower co-pays compared to brand-name drugs.

Some Background on Generics

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, generic drugs have the same active ingredients, work the same way, and provide the same clinical benefits as their brand-name counterparts.

This does not mean that generic drugs are 100% equivalent to their brand-name counterparts. What it does mean is that their manufacturers must demonstrate to the FDA that they can be effective substitutes for the drugs they're copying.

This list represents some of the top generic drug manufacturers of 2018.

Pfizer

Reporting $45.3 billion in revenue in 2018, Phizer led the industry in pharmaceutical sales. Best known for developing Viagra, Pfizer began selling its own generic version of the drug when its patent expired in 2017.

Sanofi

Sanofi reported $35.1 billion in revenue for 2018. The company operates worldwide, providing generic brands such as Zentiva, Medley, Genfar, Winthrop, and Globalpharma. In 2018, Sanofi acquired Bioverative, a biotech company based in the U.S. specializing in rare disorders of the blood for $11.6 billion.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

Teva reported total revenue in 2018 of $13.1 billion. Teva regularly records more than $11 billion in sales and acquired Anda, a generic distributer in 2016 in the U.S.

While believed to be strictly a generic drug manufacturer, Teva works to maintain a balanced division between specialty pharmaceuticals and generics.

Mylan Inc.

Mylan closed out 2018 with $11.1 billion in revenue. In the same year, it took on a large part of ASpen Pharmacare's Australian and New Zealand portfolios, purchasing the rights to branded generic pharmaceuticals.

Headquartered in the United States, it has more than 35,000 employees worldwide, 12 research and development centers, and more than 7,500 marketed products.

Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis

Sandoz employs more than 25,000 employees worldwide and runs 30 manufacturing sites. The company reported $9.9 billion for 2018.

Fresenius

The Canadian pharmaceutical company totaled $4.3 billion in revenue in 2018. The Canadian company focuses on technologies for infusions, transfusions, and parenteral (intravenous) nutrition.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries

Sun reported $4.2 billion in revenue in 2018. Generic medications make up close to 30% of its revenues. Current pharmaceutical products cover classes of medications in cardiology, diabetes, psychiatry, gastroenterology, and neurology.

Endo International

Revenue in 2018 for Endo was $2.9 billion. Its generics division is Par Pharmaceuticals, with PAR standing for "People Achieving Results." The company began in 1997 after acquiring rights and assets from the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company.

Lupin

Lupin produces more than 75 generic drugs and reported $2.3 billion in revenue in 2018. Lupin entered the generics market in 2003 with the antibacterial drug Cefuroxime Axetil. Lupin generics focus on the following classes—cephalosporins, cardiovascular, controlled release ANDRA's, and paragraph IV's.

Apotex

Apotex is the single largest investor in research and development of any pharmaceutical company in Canada—brand or generic, according to its website. They reported $2.2 billion in revenue in 2018. It has more than 1,100 active research and development projects in 50 countries.

Since 2008, Apotex has invested $1 billion in research and development, with an additional $2 billion planned through 2028 and exports to more than 115 countries and territories and operates in more than 45 countries.