About 1,500 companies in the US manufacture and market medicinal drugs, with combined annual US revenue over $200 billion. Large US manufacturers include Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott, and Eli Lilly. The industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies control more than 80 percent of the market.
The traditional drug manufacturing industry increasingly overlaps with the biotechnology industry, which is a source of many new medical treatments. To a large extent, traditional drug manufacturers are becoming development and marketing companies that acquire new drugs from smaller research companies.
The industry is marked by rapid advances in scientific knowledge that produce ever-more effective medicines. Profitability is determined mainly by the ability to discover new drugs. The industry is dominated by the large manufacturers/marketers that manufacture drugs, have large research operations, and also have large clinical testing, marketing, and distribution capabilities. Small companies are mainly research operations or manufacturers of non-prescription products. Because of the high value of the product, average revenue per employee is a very high $600,000.
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