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Top 10 pharmaceutical companies in Germany

Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Posted: 17/11/2023

This article explores German pharmaceutical companies in two lists. The companies established and headquartered in Germany and the ones with a growing presence across the country.

Germany stands as a powerhouse in healthcare innovation and medical breakthroughs, fostering an environment where scientific excellence and cutting-edge research converge to transform the lives of millions. 

It is home to many pharmaceutical companies that continue to pioneer advancements in medical science, producing life-saving medications, revolutionary treatments, and innovative therapies that profoundly impact global health.

Pharmaceutical companies headquartered in Germany

10. Grünenthal

Revenue: 1.7 billion euros

‘Seeking out innovative treatment options to change lives for the better’, Grünenthal is a fully integrated German pharmaceutical company covering the entire value chain – from drug research and development to commercialisation. The business is headquartered in Aachen and has 4500 employees.

Throughout its 77-year history, Grünenthal has demonstrated a commitment to research and development, investing heavily in cutting-edge medical technologies and scientific advancements. This dedication has resulted in the creation of a diverse portfolio of medications that address a wide range of medical conditions, with a particular emphasis on pain relief and neurological disorders.

9. Berlin Chemie

Sales: 3.6 billion euros

Founded in 1920, Berlin-Chemie has emerged as a key player in the industry, renowned for its commitment to scientific innovation, high-quality products, and patient well-being. It was acquired by the Italian group, Menarini, in 1992, and immediately found a larger sales market across Eastern Europe and now employs 5000 people across 70 nations.

Since its establishment, Berlin-Chemie has been at the forefront of pharmaceutical research and development, consistently striving to create innovative solutions for a wide range of medical conditions. With a diverse portfolio of medications spanning various therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular health, and respiratory disorders, the company has made notable contributions to improving the lives of patients worldwide.

8. Stada Arzneimittel

Sales: 3.8 billion euros

Since its inception in 1895, Stada has been driven by a strong dedication to innovation and patient well-being. The company's comprehensive portfolio encompasses a diverse range of pharmaceutical products, spanning various therapeutic areas such as generics, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and speciality pharmaceuticals.

Stada Arzneimittel is based in Göttingen, the company has a workforce of 13,000 employees. By producing high-quality generic medications, the company plays a crucial role in making essential treatments more accessible to a broader population. This commitment aligns with Stada's belief that everyone should have access to effective healthcare options, regardless of their economic circumstances.

7. Sartorius AG

Sales revenue: 4.2 billion euros

Sartorius AG stands as a distinguished pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment company with a rich history of innovation and scientific contributions. Headquartered in Bad Vilbel, the German pharmaceutical company has earned a global reputation for its cutting-edge technologies and solutions that support pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing processes.

On a mission to ‘empower scientists and engineers to simplify and accelerate progression life science and bioprocessing’, the company has 15,900 employees in more than 60 countries. The company offers an array of specialised technologies and solutions that facilitate the growth and analysis of cells, ensuring the quality and safety of biologically-derived medications. These innovations significantly contribute to advancing biopharmaceutical research and producing therapies targeting various medical conditions.

6. Fresenius Kabi

Revenue: 7.9 billion euros

Headquartered in Bad Homburg, Fresenius Kabi stands as a prominent component of the Fresenius Group, dedicated to delivering critical pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The business was founded in 1999 and has emerged as a global leader in providing a wide array of intravenously administered drugs, clinical nutrition solutions, and essential medical technologies.

In addition to pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Kabi’s 300,000-strong workforce contributes to medical innovation through the development of medical devices and technologies. These devices are designed to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of medications and fluids, enhancing patient care and streamlining medical processes for healthcare professionals.

5. B. Braun

Sales: 8.5 billion euros

With a legacy spanning over 180 years, B. Braun has become a leading force in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, known for its commitment to quality, innovation, and patient-centered care. The company's comprehensive portfolio includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services designed to address diverse medical needs and scenarios.

The company, which is headquartered in Melsungen, employs more than 65,000 people. The company's pharmaceutical products include anaesthetics, analgesics, and other critical medications vital for surgeries, pain management, and various medical treatments.

4. Merck Group

Net sales: 22.2 billion euros

Headquartered in Darmstadt, the Merck Group has established itself as a leader in various fields, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and speciality chemicals. The company's pharmaceutical division focuses on developing innovative medications that address a wide spectrum of medical conditions, ranging from chronic diseases to rare disorders.

With a rich history spanning over three centuries, Merck employs 60,000 people in over 66 countries. They have consistently demonstrated a commitment to improving human health and well-being through cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, therapies, and groundbreaking research.

3. Boehringer Ingelheim

Net sales: 24.1 billion euros

As of 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim became one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. It was founded in 1885 by Albert Boehringer in Ingelheim, where its headquarters remain. The German pharmaceutical company employs more than 53,000 people and boasts a diverse portfolio encompassing medications that address critical health challenges, including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular conditions, central nervous system disorders, and oncology.

Boehringer Ingelheim's sphere of influence stretches beyond pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Believing there to be a close connection between human and animal health, the company's interest in animal wellbeing has yielded veterinary medicines that elevate the quality of life for companion animals and livestock, reflecting its comprehensive approach to healthcare.

2. Phoenix Pharmahandel

Net sales: 30.7 billion euros

PHOENIX Pharmahandel, widely recognised as the Phoenix Group, is headquartered in Mannheim and is the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in Germany. The company was founded in 1994 and due to its size and scale, with around 153 distribution centres across Germany, significantly influences the global landscape of medical supply and accessibility.

Employing 39,000 employees, the Phoenix Group has refined its operations to become a linchpin in the distribution chain that links pharmaceutical manufacturers to healthcare providers and patients. The company's robust network, spanning numerous countries, ensures that essential medicines and healthcare supplies reach those in need.

1. Bayer

Net sales: 50.7 billion euros

Bayer Pharmaceuticals is a titan in the global pharmaceutical and life sciences arena. Headquartered in Leverkusen and rooted in a history dating back over a century, Bayer is now represented in 83,000 countries with more than 100,000 employees. Their diverse portfolio encompasses an extensive array of therapeutic areas, from cardiovascular health and oncology to women's health and haematology.

In addition to pharmaceuticals, Bayer is also deeply invested in agricultural science, contributing to the development of sustainable agricultural practices and innovative crop solutions that enhance food security and support global farming communities.

Looking to hire life sciences professionals in Germany?

Pharmaceutical companies with locations in Germany

Boasting an established reputation in the pharmaceutical industry, an existing network of qualified workers and continued investment in the life sciences, it’s no wonder that many of the leading global life sciences companies have a presence in Germany. Here are some of the top pharmaceutical companies in Germany, based on their global revenue. 

10. Gilead Sciences

Revenue: 24.9 billion euros

Headquartered in California USA, Gilead Sciences has established itself as a trailblazer in virology, immunology, and liver diseases. The company has been represented in Germany since 1991.

9. Lilly

Revenue: 25.9 billion euros

Lily is based in Indiana in the US. The company's comprehensive portfolio encompasses treatments for diabetes, oncology, neuroscience, and immunology. The company’s main German location has been in Bad Homburg since 1960.

8. GSK

Sales: 34.4 billion euros

Established in London, GSK employs over 3400 people at five locations in Germany. Their location in Dresden is the centre for the development and production of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines as well as vaccines against hepatitis.

7. AstraZeneca

Revenue: 40.3 billion euros

Widely known for its COVID-19 vaccination, AstraZeneca is based in London, England. The company has had a presence in Germany since 1999, employing around 800 people in their packing and distribution, commercial and technical functions in Wedel.

6. Bristol-Myers Squibb

Revenue: 40.7 billion euros

Bristol-Myers Squibb is based in New York, US and has risen to prominence as a global leader in the development of oncology, immunology, and cardiovascular health. Their Munich office consists largely of commercial and regulatory operations.

5. Sanofi

Sales: 43 billion euros

Sanofi is known for its diverse portfolio of medications, from diabetes and rare diseases to vaccines and oncology. Despite being headquartered in Paris, France, Sanofi’s largest location in Germany is in Frankfurt. More than 7000 employees work at its three Sanofi locations across Germany.

4. Novartis

Net sales: 46 billion euros

Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis's operations in Germany reflect its dedication to research and development and its focus on delivering cutting-edge therapies to patients. The company's presence extends across multiple therapeutic areas, encompassing pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices.

3. Johnson & Johnson

Sales: 47.9 billion euros

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical segment is headquartered in New Jersey, USA. It operates an extensive portfolio that includes cardiovascular health, oncology, immunology, and neuroscience. They have around 4,000 employees at 10 locations in Germany.

2. Roche

Net sales: 65.2 billion euros

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche has emerged as a leader in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Germany is the second largest country representative with four locations and around 17,000 employees.

1. Pfizer

Revenue: 91.3 billion euros

Pfizer is a research-based pharmaceutical company based in New York, USA. The company has established a significant and influential presence in Germany, contributing to the advancement of medical science, patient care, and healthcare innovation.

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