As its meeting in Paris comes to a close, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations has released a report which shows that the industry counts for “no less than 19% of global business R&D expenditure”.

EFPIA has published its 2008 edition of Pharmaceutical Industry in Figures which shows that the sector also accounts for 5.8% of manufactured exports in the European Union. It is also the industry with the highest ratio of R&D investment to net sales (15,9%) and employs more than 643,100 people in Europe, of which 107,000 work in R&D.

Brian Ager, director-general of EFPIA, said that the figures “demonstrate how valuable the research-based pharmaceutical industry is to Europe and its health and economy”. However, he added that “our contribution should not be taken for granted” because for over a decade now, the continent “has gradually lost ground as a research base”. There has been “a steady transfer of its R&D to other parts of the world, in particular the USA, “where the environment is more supportive of pharmaceutical innovation,” he noted.

Between 1990 and 2007, R&D investment in United States grew 5.2 times whilst in Europe it only increased 3.3 times, says the report. Also there is rapid growth in emerging economies such as China and India and the current tendency to close R&D sites in Europe and to open new ones in Asia “will show dramatic effects in the next few years if nothing is done to maintain the pharmaceutical discovery expertise in the EU”, EFPIA concludes.