Consulting, Compliance and Validation

The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly important to the Italian economy

The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly important to the Italian economy

According to the Nomisma report on the so-called “Fab13” of the pharmaceutical sector (the 13 Italian-capital sample companies), global growth in the sector saw a 12.6% increase in revenues compared to 2021 with a 14.9% increase in exports (72% of total sales). Investments grew by 25%, of which 1.6 billion euro was invested in innovation in 2022.

The brands taken into consideration by the research institute are: Alfasigma, Abiogen Pharma, Angelini Pharma, Chiesi Farmaceutici, Dompé farmaceutici, I.B.N.Savio, Italfarmaco, Kedrion, Menarini, Molteni, Mediolanum farmaceutici, Recordati and Zambon. These are 13 medium-large businesses, often family-run.  In 2022 their business volume was 14.3 billion euro. They dominate thanks to policies that focus on internationalisation , investment and innovation.

The main Italian pharmaceutical companies and innovation

Again according to the Nomisma study, pharmaceutical companies with Italian capital all draw their strength from a propensity to invest. While global data already looks solid, the priority given to long-term growth is underscored by growing investment rates: in 2022 investment amounted to 3.4 billion euro (+25% compared to 2021), equal to 23.7% of annual revenues.

Key interventions in 2022 recorded by the Observatory included: 1.6 billion euro to sustain R&D  (+14.5% compared to 2021); 1.3 billion euro for the acquisition of companies, products and licenses (+50%); 250 million euro for infrastructural improvements, efficiency improvements and the expansion of production areas, as well as the purchase of equipment and machinery (+2%). R&D spending has gathered pace in the last three years: average annual investment between 2010 and 2019 (a period of extraordinary growth for the sector) amounted to some 723 million euro, yet during the period 2020-2022 the average amount invested each year almost doubled to 1.404 billion.

Employment in the pharmaceutical sector

In 2022, the 13 pharmaceutical industries taken into consideration had a total of 43,736 employees (+1.3% compared to 2021). An overview of national manufacturing shows that companies in the pharmaceutical sector are larger than the average in other sectors: in fact, 38.3% of pharma companies employ over 50 people, while less than 3% of medium and large manufacturing companies do so. In 2021, Italian pharmaceutical companies employed a total of over 67,000 people, up by 0.9% on 2020 and by 4.7% on 2011; this result that runs counter to the negative trend indicated by the manufacturing average (-6.3%) and counter to trends in almost every other sector except food, chemicals, machinery and means of transport.