The Top Generic Drug Companies

Generic medication manufacturers are leading the industry

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

A report by GlobalData says that Indian generic manufacturers are doing particularly well in the generics marketplace, and more and more companies are moving their manufacturing facilities overseas to cut costs.

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 percent equivalent to their brand name counterparts, but their manufacturers must demonstrate to the FDA that they can be effective substitutes for the drugs they are copying.

The Top Global Generic Drug Makers

Based on financial numbers provided by Evaluate through 2016, these are the drug companies that are leading the way in the generics marketplace.

  1. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries: Reported revenues in 2016 were $9.8 billion. Teva regularly records more than $9 billion in sales and purchased the rights to Allergan's generics division in 2015.
  2. Mylan Inc.: Reported $9.4 billion in revenue for 2016. In 2014, it took on a large part of Abbott Pharmaceutical's business, purchasing the rights to more than 100 specialty and branded generic pharmaceuticals. Headquartered in the United States, it has more than 20,000 employees worldwide.
  1. Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis: Reported $9 billion in revenue in 2016. Sandoz employs more than 25,000 employees worldwide and runs 30 manufacturing sites.
  2. Pfizer: Reported $4.5 billion in revenue in 2016. Best known for developing Viagra, Pfizer even began selling its own generic version of the drug when its patent expired in 2017.
  3. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries: Reported $3.6 billion in revenue in 2016 and saw a 68 percent increase in drug revenue, due in large part to its $4 billion buyout of rival Ranbaxy Laboratories. The purchase added $2 billion in revenue and solidified Sun as a leader in the generic marketplace. Sun has more than 30,000 employees. 
  4. Fresenius Kabi: Reported $2.8 billion in revenue in 2016. The Canadian company focuses on technologies for infusions, transfusions, and parenteral (intravenous) nutrition.
  5. Endo International: Reported $2.5 billion in revenue in 2016. 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.
  6. Lupin: Reported $2.5 billion in revenue in 2016. Lupin entered the generics market in 2003 with the antibacterial drug Cefuroxime Axetil. As of 2018, Lupin produces more than 75 generic drugs.
  1. Sanofi: Reported $2 billion in revenue in 2016. Operates worldwide generic brands Zentiva, Medley, Genfar, Winthrop, and Globalpharma.
  2. Aspen Pharmacare: Reported $2 billion in revenue in 2016. As one of the few companies based in South Africa, it has seen growth by focusing on emerging markets in Asia. It continues to look for companies to acquire to add to its portfolio of medications. 
  3. Aurobindo Pharma: Reported $1.8 billion in revenue in 2016. Aurobindo has seen considerable growth in recent years and opened a 565,000 square-feet, fully automated state-of-the-art distribution center in East Windsor, NJ, in 2017.
  4. Cipla 2016: Reported $1.6 billion in revenue in 2016. Based in India, Cipla also has a strong presence in the U.S. and South Africa.
  5. Apotex: Reported 1.6 billion in revenue in 2016. Apotex is the single largest investor in research and development of any pharmaceutical company in Canada–brand or generic, according to its website. It has more than 1,100 active research and development projects representing more than 500 molecules in 50 countries. In the past 10 years, Apotex has invested $1 billion in research and development, with an additional $2 billion planned for the next 10 years. It exports to more than 115 countries and territories and operates in more than 45 countries, primarily in the U.S., Mexico. and India.