The pharmaceutical industry is a large part of the Spanish economy, secondary to tourism, renewable energy, aerospace and automotive. In 2017, it was estimated that pharmaceuticals provided for 200,000 jobs of which 37,000 were direct positions in the industry. The R&D investment capacity was estimated at $1B€. In 2015, 40% of the $1B€ funds were dedicated to working with hospitals, academia and excellence centers on various projects1. The BEST Project is an example. The Project’s goal was to have successful clinical research of various new medicines from Farmaindustria, which for over a decade has been endorsing the participation of Spain in various clinical research projects.
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In addition, it is estimated that the annual medication exports in Spain account for $11B€, 5th in exports in Spain. The industry works on a commitment of collaboration as a partner with Public Administrations and the Spanish National Healthcare System. The goal is not just to research and develop new medications but also to provide those medicines to patients in need. An Agreement has been signed between the pharmaceutical industry and the Government that guarantees patient’s access to these novel medications that our being developed.
There are many leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in Spain. The majority of the companies are headquartered in Barcelona or Madrid.
Leading companies based on manufacturing and sales of basic products in 2016 in Spain are seen below:
Current innovative leaders in the pharmaceutical industry include: Almirall, Curaxys, Esteve, Grifols, Inibsa, SOM Biotech, and PharmaMar.
The pharmaceutical industry is gender balanced with approximately 50% of the work force female. Salaries range based on the various job categories, gender and age.
The pharmaceutical industry is on a path to recovery in the current era, since 2014-2015. In the years prior, there were several challenges the industry faced, including competition and the risk of R&D investments with rising costs, long research times and low probabilities of success. The government cut spending on the industry due to the economic crisis throughout Europe starting in 2008 .
The current growth is due to biotechnology, innovation, high quality workforce, support from the government and an aging population that is playing a pivotal role in the Spanish healthcare area. The Spanish government has allowed for tax incentives for R&D spending after they introduced a price containment in 2010, which prohibited pharmacists from dispensing more expensive medications if a cheaper substitute was available. This price containment caused a value drop of 13.7% of the pharmaceutical industry between 2010 and 2014. However, by 2015 with the tax incentives in R&D, the pharmaceutical industry in Spain invested $1.2B in R&D12.
In 2017, Spain exported more than 11.6M€ (3.6% of total exports) in medications, which has been steadily increasing since 2015 when it hit a record high that year. The future is bright for this industry given the critical role of biosimilars, molecular targeted, innovative therapies and immunotherapies in various disease realms, particularly oncology. It is estimated that the Spanish Pharma market will approach $25.1B by 2021, rising from $23.7B in 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of approximately 1% .
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