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Roche Defends Healthy Lead as World’s Most Valuable Pharma Brand

15 February 2019
This article is more than 2 years old.

· Roche maintains top spot in brand ranking, following 8% growth to US$6.9 billion

· Merck’s brand bounces back from last year’s struggles, growing 29% to US$4.1 billion and jumping into the top 5

· Bayer is world’s strongest pharmaceutical brand with AAA- rating, improving score despite association with Monsanto

View the full Brand Finance Pharma 10 2019 report here

Roche has defended the title of the world’s most valuable pharmaceutical brand, as its brand value increased 8% to US$6.9 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Roche was able to stay ahead of second-ranked Bayer (brand value up 11% to US$6.2 billion) although the gap between the two has narrowed slightly.

Roche’s brand value increase was driven by strong performance in the United States, where it benefited from a 14% growth in sales. Elsewhere, results were not so strong, particularly in Japan (sales steady) and Europe (sales down 8%), where Roche is challenged by generic drugs undercutting sales.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Roche remains the most valuable pharmaceutical brand as a result of its continued investment in world-leading drug development. While it will always face challenges from generic competitors, the purchase of Foundation Medicine in 2018 is a great opportunity to enable Roche to leverage its brand by deploying its personalised healthcare strategy. Roche is in a strong position to lead the industry in genomic profiling to develop new cancer treatments and improve patient care.”

Merck makes speedy recovery
Merck (brand value up 29% to US$4.1 billion) is the year’s biggest mover, with the brand achieving the fastest growth amongst the industry’s top ten. Merck has jumped two places in the rankings, overtaking both Sanofi (brand value up 2% to $3.4 billion) and Novartis, to enter into the top 5.

Merck’s brand value bounced back strongly after it saw a decline last year, following a cyber-attack in June 2017 which both undermined customer confidence and reduced production of Gardasil 9 drugs. The resilience of the company in the face of challenging circumstances and ability to rebound strongly is testament to the strength of the brand.

Bayer strengthens despite association with Monsanto

In addition to calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, Bayer has maintained its position as the world’s strongest pharmaceutical brand and is the only brand in the industry to post a AAA- rating. Bayer’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score improved to 83.1 from 81.2 out of 100 over the past year, despite the brand’s latest association with Monsanto – a new acquisition by Bayer’s chemical business.

The Monsanto brand has fallen from favour after long-term mainstream criticism based on health concerns over its products, such as Roundup, and their influence on the food industry and the environment. Bayer is planning to retain the various names of individual products but terminate the overarching Monsanto brand, whose reputation is proving problematic for the future of Bayer’s business.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Bayer is the world’s strongest pharmaceutical brand because it has been able to strategically protect its reputation from various contentious public and political issues. It is no different with the acquisition of Monsanto, where the leadership are clearly taking the right steps to reinforce stakeholder trust.”

The questions concerning the treatment of a changing brand portfolio are not just pertinent to Bayer. The transfer of the consumer healthcare business of GSK from a Novartis joint venture last year, into a new deal with Pfizer, and eventually into a separate business within three years, is a symptom of an industry where rising costs of development pipelines have caused a lot of businesses to experiment with acquisition and divestment. This can create confusion among customers, doctors, pharmacists, and other stakeholders, and presents new challenges for brand managers regarding positioning and strategy.


Note to Editors
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 10 most valuable pharmaceutical brands are included in the Brand Finance Pharma 10 2019 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Pharma 10 2019 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Konrad Jagodzinski
Konrad Jagodzinski
Communications Director
Brand Finance
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Senior Communications Manager
Brand Finance

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