Markets & Companies

Best Pharma Brands

Interbrand Health Ranks Pfizer, Roche and Merck on Top

08.09.2016 -

Global brand agency Interbrand has identified the top 10 pharmaceutical brands among the top 25 global pharmaceutical companies. Besides the financial value of the brand, its influence on health-care professionals played an essential role in the selection.

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, is also the company with the best and most valuable brand. This is the result of a global study by Interbrand, a New York specialist in evaluating brands. Interbrand prized the value of the Pfizer brand at about $20 billion and thus sees the US group at the top of the pharmaceutical giants. Next are the big players Roche — with a brand value of $15.5 billion — and Merck & Co. — with nearly $13.9 billion. In places four and five are Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical unit Janssen ($13.87 billion) and Novartis with $13.5 billion. In total the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies represent approximately $129 billion in brand value.

The study examines what value means to health-care professionals (HCPs) and illustrates the influence the corporate brand has in conveying that value. It also reveals how leading companies are beginning to deliver on what matters to HCPs.

For its research Interbrand has identified three significant factors: financial analysis, strength or function of trade, and the influence of the brand. They examined the probability that doctors, nurses, pharmacists or health-insurance companies recommend a brand or prescribe its drugs. According to Interbrand Health the value of the company normally increases with the size of the brand value.

Commitment ‘Beyond The Pill’

Jane Parker, CEO of Interbrand Health, pointed out that the role of brands in the pharmaceutical industry has changed in recent years. Health-care decision-makers today expect from pharmaceutical manufacturers a commitment to innovative health-care solutions that go “beyond the pill.”

As a consequence leading biopharmaceutical companies would change their business models, increase their transparency and conduct more research in areas that do not necessarily belong to the traditional core activities of the pharmaceutical industry, such as digital therapies. In addition, the companies are increasing their sociopolitical activities. Therefore the industry again would have gained more control over its appearance and would have the opportunity to provide a more convincing picture of what it does for the environment and consumers.

“Biopharma is at a pivotal moment, and the time for change is now,” Parker said. The study ranks Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca and GSK in places six to 10. The investigation “Best Pharma Brands” is based partly on financial and market data of the companies. In addition, the authors took into account the feedback and opinions of decision-makers and leaders in the health-care business.

In Germany, according to the fifth East-West brand study of MDR-Advertising and the IMK Institute for Applied Marketing and Communication Research, the companies Bayer and Ratiopharm rank at the top of pharmaceutical brands. Accordingly, almost every third respondent spontaneously mentioned the Bayer brand when it came to prescription drugs. Around 20% of respondents named Ratiopharm.

Controversy Over Brand Valuations

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, which publishes the annual Brand Finance Global 500 report, said that in recent years there has been a growing controversy over the validity of brand valuations in general and brand valuation league tables in particular. The main reasons for differences of opinion about the value of a brand would be, e.g., brand asset definition, the date of the valuation, and the adopted approach or financial forecasts.

But now there is a widely accepted global brand valuation standard called ISO 10668. Based on the results of the latest Brand Finance Global 500, 18% of all quoted company enterprise value is made up of brands, Haigh said. This points to a renewed need to educate and explain how brand valuations are conducted and how critical an understanding of brand value is to marketers, finance teams and CEOs alike.

The 2016 report of Brand Finance Global 500 ranks the US UnitedHealth Group as the health-care company with the highest brand value in the world.

The Best Pharma Brands

(Ranking and brand value)


Pfizer: $19.985 billion


Roche: $15.479 billion


Merck & Co.: $13.880 billion (known as MSD outside of US and Canada)


Janssen: $13.866 billion


Novartis: $13.496 billion


Amgen: $13.461 billion


Gilead Sciences: $13.361 billion


Novo Nordisk: $10.206 billion


AstraZeneca: $8.123 billion


Source: Interbrand, 2016