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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
Articles (245) 

Merck Sales Hit Hardest by Pandemic

Revenue expected to decline more than 3%, while GlaxoSmithKline projected to gain more than 2%

Among the top 15 pharmaceutical companies by sales, Merck & Co. Inc's. (NYSE:MRK) revenue has been hit the hardest by Covid-19.

EvaluatePharma reported that since the beginning of the global lockdown caused by the pandemic, analyst forecasts for 2020 product sales have dropped by $4.9 billion for the top 15 drug companies. Merck is forecasted to take the biggest blow-- $1.25 billion-- due in great part to the fact that two out of every three of the company's products have to be administered by a physician. With nearly all but only the most essential office visits curtailed, patients aren't getting to see their doctors face to face.

At the other end of the spectrum is GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), which is expected to see a more than 2% increase in 2020 sales, a $650 million boost that will bring its total for the year to $31.7 billion according to analysts. That's good enough for ninth on the list in terms of gross sales. The British company is benefitting from increased demand for its respiratory treatment Ventolin HFA and stockpiling of its HIV medication Tivcay.

Another winner is Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY), whose 2020 sales are anticipated to reach $21.1 billion, up more than $1 billion from earlier projections. Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE:TAK) are also expected to be net revenue gainers.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is also pegged to suffer from the Covid disruption, with the coronavirus projected to take a nearly $1.2 billion bite out of revenue.

Following is the complete list of companies and their net gains or losses in sales due to the pandemic:

  1. GlaxoSmithKline +2.1%
  2. Eli Lilly +1.1%
  3. Gilead Sciences +0.4%
  4. Takeda +0.2%
  5. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) 0.0%
  6. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) -0.3%
  7. Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) -1.2%
  8. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) -1.3%
  9. Novartis (NYSE:NVS) -1.0%
  10. AbbVie Inc.(NYSE:ABBV) -1.2%
  11. Sanofi (SNY) -1.8%
  12. Roche (RHHBY) -1.3%
  13. Bayer AG (BAYN) -3.2%
  14. Pfizer -3.0%
  15. Merck -3.2%

Disclosure: The author holds positions in Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers, Amgen, AbbVie, Sanofi and Pfizer.

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About the author:

Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen has nearly 40 years experience in communications and marketing, the majority in senior positions at large international health care companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer Inc.

He has contributed to a number of financial websites, writing primarily about the stocks of health care companies.

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