The European pharmaceutical sector has been a key player during the pandemic due to its leading role in the development of vaccines and drugs and is now positioned as one of the strategic markets for Europe’s economic and social recovery.
This sector invested $42 billion (€41.5 billion) in research and development (R&D) in 2021, up from $40 billion (€39.65 billion) in 2020, according to data from the latest report with the sector’s main indicators, published by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (Efpia).
The pharma sector directly employed 840,000 people in Europe, 125,000 of whom work in the companies’ R&D departments. In addition, production exceeded $313 billion (€310 billion), exports reached $556 billion (€550 billion) and the sector as a whole contributed more than $177 billion (€175 billion) to the trade balance of the 27-member European Union (EU), the highest generated in all research-based sectors.
The analysis also points to the evolution of these indicators over the past two decades. From 2000 to 2021, the innovative pharmaceutical companies that are part of Efpia managed to double production, increase exports sixfold and record a trade balance well above the rest of the high-tech sectors in Europe. “These figures show that we are a vital industry for Europe’s economy,” said Nathalie Moll, Efpia’s CEO. “Pharmaceutical companies can contribute to both health and the economy at a key moment for policy development on the continent,” she added.
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The European pharmaceutical sector surpassed $313 billion (€310 billion) in production
However, the sector faces a number of challenges. “Escalating costs and regulatory hurdles are hampering research and development, while the impact of fiscal austerity measures introduced in Europe since 2010 continue to affect current revenues and influence key decisions to bring innovation to market,” Moll commented.
At the same time, Moll warns that Europe is facing increasing competition from emerging countries, such as Brazil, China, Korea, and India, which are increasing their investment in biomedical research, which is contributing to the relocation of economic and research activities out of Europe.
In fact, the report highlights that in 2021 China almost equaled Europe as the region where new drugs were discovered and launched, with 18 and 19 new drugs, respectively, still far behind the United States, which again led this ranking: it was the origin of 35 new drugs out of a total of 95 launched on the market.
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First published in PlantaDoce a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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