Drug exports break record in first half

Medicines made in Spain are gaining ground in the trade balance. In the first six months of the year, these products generated cash of 12,464.9 million euros, a figure that represents a growth of 60.2% compared to the same period in 2021. This is the third product that brought in the most money, only behind vehicles and motorcycles (15,502 million euros) and oil and its derivatives (14,004 million euros).

Pharmaceutical companies, both national and multinational, which have factories in Spain, already generate 6.5% of total Spanish exports. In terms of the trade balance, the change is radical. While in the first six months of last year the result was 2,000 million euros in the negative (there were more imports than exports), in the same period this year , the result is 546.9 million euros in favor. In total, according to data from the employers’ association Farmaindustria, there are 82 manufacturing plants in Spain.

One of the explanations for the sharp increase in exports compared to previous years is the coronavirus. Several Spanish companies have worked to carry out some of the parts of the Covid vaccine process (four contracts have been signed in our country for the five vaccines approved in Europe), so the figure reached has a cyclical part. Previously, growth had a positive trend, but without the current big jump. Overall, the current figures make the drug the fourth most exported product in Spain. Today, medicine is the third most exported product in Spain.

In addition to the growth in exports, pharmaceutical companies were responsible for 19.6% of total industrial investment in R&D, which puts the sector behind only the automobile in this field. This is a particularly relevant fact if we take into account that the turnover of pharmaceutical companies represents only 2.3% of the total of the Spanish industry, which is why it is at the forefront of l R&D intensity (R&D investment). +D on turnover).

These figures come halfway through the development of the national pharmaceutical strategy. The project, negotiated by the government and the employers, has among its objectives to promote the national manufacture of medicines. However, there is still work to be done to reach a general agreement, as regulatory changes are also involved which improve the price of drugs to be manufactured in Spain.

National manufacturing plan

Looking to the future, manufacturing capacity in Spain needs to increase. The government has already established a series of drugs it considers essential for Southeast Asia’s health independence, and companies have also shown their cards in the face of potential investment.

The reindustrialization plan that the pharmaceutical companies began to weave in 2021 already has all the figures clear. From the 500 million initially announced, it rose to just over 1,000 at the end of April to end up exceeding 1,700 million euros, more than triple the amount initially planned. “In most cases, we are talking about mature drugs, with many years on the market and which are no longer protected by patent, but which are still indicated to combat certain symptoms or diseases”, they explain from Farmaindustria.

The project encompasses the entire Spanish pharmaceutical sector. Led by Farmaindustria, three other associations of employers directly involved in the production of raw materials (IPA) and medicines have joined: the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Fine Chemicals, the Association of Employers for Generic Medicines and association for products without a prescription. A total of 40 companies will be involved in the project.

The total amount that will be allocated to this project, framed in the Program for the Promotion of Industrial Competitiveness and Sustainable Tractor Projects of the Ministry of Industry, will be 1,721 million euros. Of these, 1,182 million will come from the pockets of drug manufacturing companies, while the remaining 539 million will come from raw material manufacturers. “The goal is to provide Spanish industry with the knowledge, technology, digitalization and manufacturing capabilities needed to ensure supply in Spain,” they state.

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