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.
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.