It took a global pandemic to end the nine-year reign of AbbVie’s Humira as the world’s best-selling pharmaceutical product—and the final tally of 2021 sales wasn’t even close.
With Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty generating $36.8 billion in sales in 2021—the most for any pharma product in history—Humira couldn't compete for the top spot, even though the immunology superstar surpassed the $20 billion mark in sales for the first time.
Three other COVID products catapulted into the top 20 rankings last year. Moderna’s mRNA vaccine Spikevax was the third-highest selling product at $17.7 billion. Meanwhile, Regeneron and Roche's antibody treatment REGEN-COV and Gilead’s infused antiviral Veklury finished in the No. 13 and No. 19 slots, respectively, both generating more than $5 billion.
Aside from the four COVID products, three other fast risers bolted into the top 20 last year. After a 55% increase in sales from 2020 to 2021, Regeneron and Sanofi’s Dupixent vaulted into the No. 18 position. A 43% increase in sales pushed Johnson & Johnson’s cancer treatment Darzalex into the top 20, while a 46% bump in sales did the same for Vertex’s game-changing cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta.
In a boom year for the industry, the No. 20 medicine on the list, Pfizer’s breast cancer drug Ibrance, generated sales of $5.4 billion. It was quite a departure from 2020 when the No. 20 drug on the list, Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, pulled in $4.2 billion.