Topics - Industry & economy

The European Pharmaceutical sector is a world leader

Pharmaceutical trade surplus of €48.3 billion in 2011 was the highest among Europe’s high-tech industries.

The European pharmaceutical industry is Europe’s 5th largest industrial sector and accounting for 26.8% of the global pharmaceutical market in 2011. Few other industry sectors in Europe can match the European pharmaceutical industry’s contribution to generating a trade surplus, investment in R&D, and creation of skilled employment in Europe. The EU’s external trade agenda is therefore essential to ensuring market access for exports of innovative medicines developed by European pharmaceutical companies and thus boosting access to high quality, new medicines to a broader number of patients worldwide.

EFPIA supports an open trading system that creates new opportunities for trade and investment and promotes competitiveness and innovation in a level playing field. The EU’s external trade agenda is important to achieve these objectives, both at multilateral and bilateral level. EFPIA contributes to shape this agenda in order to ensure that the European pharmaceutical industry has greater access to global markets through predictable and non-discriminatory trade and investment conditions.

EFPIA advocates for increased market access for the pharmaceutical industry’s medicines and promotes a level playing field from a regulatory perspective vis-à-vis increasingly strong trading partners. Furthermore, EFPIA supports the adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), which is necessary to maintaining Europe’s leadership in medical innovation. A strong, rules-based multilateral system and an effective EU bilateral agenda are instrumental in pursuing these objectives.

EFPIA supports the negotiation of high-quality, comprehensive free trade agreements (FTAs) that substantially cover both tariff and non-tariff barriers, promote investment, address the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and enhance transparency. EFPIA closely follows the negotiations of EU FTAs, and welcomes the EU-Japan FTA, the preparations for an EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the on-going negotiations with Canada and ASEAN countries.

Other countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and Turkey represent high-growth markets for the European pharmaceutical industry where increased trade and investment opportunities are sought. Close cooperation with these markets, including through research partnerships, is also envisaged to ensure that trade and health policies are conducive to improved capacity building in innovation and high value-added industries.