Advertisement
investing

Biggest Blockbuster Drugs of All Time

Lipitor, Humira and Advair boosted the bottom lines of Big Pharma companies and their shareholders for years.

A prescription drug that surpasses $1 billion in sales is known as a blockbuster. It's a rare feat, but when a pharmaceutical company finds a true blockbuster drug the payoff is enormous. How enormous? Check out the three best-selling prescription drugs of all time.

Blockbuster Drug #1: Lipitor

Company: Pfizer (PFE)

Treats: High cholesterol

Advertisement - Article continues below

Lifetime sales: $150.1 billion

Originally developed by Warner-Lambert, Lipitor was approved in the U.S. in 1997. Pfizer acquired its rival in 2000 to gain sole ownership of the cholesterol-fighting drug – and it was well worth it. At one point, Lipitor accounted for one-fourth of Pfizer’s sales. The patent expired in 2011.

Blockbuster Drug #2: Humira

Company: AbbVie (ABBV)

Treats: Ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis

Lifetime sales: $109.2 billion

Doctors praise Humira’s ability to combat damaging inflammation caused by a number of diseases. Sales will likely peak in 2018 as the drug begins to lose patent protection, but it’s been a heck of a run. Humira is owned by AbbVie, an industry giant that was spun off from Abbott Labs in 2013.

Blockbuster Drug #3: Advair

Company: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Treats: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma

Lifetime sales: $95.7 billion

Advair has been a huge seller since its approval in 2001. And even though its U.S. patent expired in 2010, no successful generic competitor has surfaced. Copying the drug isn’t the problem. Rather, rivals have yet to figure out how to copy the inhaler. Until they do, Glaxo investors can breathe easy.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

18 Things You Can't Return to Amazon
Smart Buying

18 Things You Can't Return to Amazon

Before tossing these items into your virtual shopping cart, be sure to read Amazon's return policy first.
September 17, 2020
Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 presidential election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden has said …
September 18, 2020
Insurance for Long-Term Care at Home
retirement

Insurance for Long-Term Care at Home

In the wake of COVID-wracked nursing homes, increasingly more people are looking at options to age in place with long-term care insurance.
September 17, 2020

Recommended

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know
Investing for Income

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know

Bonds can be more complex than stocks, but it's not hard to become a knowledgeable fixed-income investor.
July 22, 2020
3 Tips to Help You Navigate Open Enrollment in Your ‘New Normal’
health insurance

3 Tips to Help You Navigate Open Enrollment in Your ‘New Normal’

With all the changes going on in workplaces across the country since COVID-19, your insurance and benefits needs might have changed, too.
September 15, 2020
Best Bond Funds for Every Need
Investing for Income

Best Bond Funds for Every Need

In a changing market, it’s important to remember why we hold bonds in the first place.
September 15, 2020
This Year’s Benefits Open Enrollment Period Is an Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss
health insurance

This Year’s Benefits Open Enrollment Period Is an Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss

Plan ahead to do a deep dive into the benefits your employer offers. Given what we’ve been through so far in 2020, you may need them!
September 9, 2020