European trade in pharmaceutical goods

Economic competitiveness is currently high on the EU political agenda, and EU leaders will soon be defining the priorities for the 2024-2029 policy cycle. Parallel to this, the EU’s pharmaceutical legislation is undergoing its most comprehensive review in a generation. In this context, it is important to understand the pharmaceutical sector’s economic contribution in the EU.

In our recent investigation into this area, we analyse the size and importance of trade in pharmaceutical goods in the EU based on data from Eurostat. Among our findings, we note that:

• The pharmaceutical industry was the industry with the largest extra-EU trade surplus in 2022, amounting to 171 billion EUR.
• Total EU pharmaceutical exports have grown by 143% since 2012.
A third of all extra-EU exports reach the US market.