medicines and Vaccines

Economic footprint

Wirkstofflager, Roboter, Platten, Mitarbeitende

Economic footprint of our industry

Our biopharma industry makes an important and diversified contribution to the global economy. We support research on the economic contribution of our industry to have a better understanding of our impact and more accurately guide policymaking.

Our economic footprint:

  • Our medicines and vaccines save lives, reduce hospitalization, and make society as a whole healthier and more productive. Yet our contribution to society goes beyond health;
  • It is a sector that generates jobs, tax revenues, and contributes to technology diffusion or put simply how people adopt and benefit from the innovation we bring;
  • Our big investment in R&D and innovation also helps drive technological development.

Our industry makes a major contribution to the prosperity of the world economy. It is a robust sector that has been one of the pillars of industrialized economies and is also increasingly recognized as an important sector in the developing world. It contributes to employment (direct, indirect, or induced), trade, expenditure on research and development (R&D), and technological capacity building. It is also a necessary foundation for the existence of the generic industry.

Our industry is particularly economically active in production and R&D. Globally, the production value of the biopharma industry reached USD 966 billion (2012), more than USD 300 billion higher than in 2006. R&D investments were up to USD 49.5 billion in the United States (2009) and USD 12.5 billion in Japan (2010).

Our industry also contributes to job creation in both developing and developed countries. In 2012, it employed approximately 4.4 million people worldwide (including generics); a 794,000 increase from 2006. A survey of 17 biopharma companies in the United States found that spending on services and supplies came to USD 53 billion across 17 states, turning into more than 3.4 million jobs.

In addition to directly or indirectly creating jobs, our industry’s presence also leads to spread of knowledge in the workforce. Employees working for pharma often receive qualified training and are exposed to new technologies and processes. This knowledge becomes an asset for the entire workforce, as the employees may later change jobs or start their own companies, hence fostering economic development.


Source: WifOR (2015) The Economic Footprint of the Pharmaceutical Industry

There is no doubt our industry contribution to society is significant. Compared to other industries, did you know that ours spend every year five times more than the defence & aerospace industries combined? Did you also know that five of the leading firms were indeed research-based pharmaceutical companies?

4.4 million

people employed by the pharmaceutical industry globally

USD 436.8 billion

gross value added in the pharmaceutical industry in 2012

USD 91.3 billion

salaries and wages paid by the pharmaceutical industry

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