The Top Five countries in Europe for pharma production. All located in Western Europe, Switzerland punches well above its weight to take top spot. This data is taken from the 2021 edition of the EFPIA’s comprehensive annual data review of the European pharma industry.



Despite boasting a population just one tenth the size of neighbour Germany, Switzerland is by far Europe’s biggest pharma producer, with production values of upwards of EUR 54.3 billion in 2019.

Switzerland is particularly strong in next-generation biologics manufacturing. As UCB’s Head of Global Manufacturing, Engineering and Health, Safety & Environment Jacques Marbehant points out, “Manufacturing out of Switzerland might cost slightly more than other countries but continues to serve us well because we can tap into unique knowledge and know-how while benefitting from the extremely high levels of production that you get out here. What’s more the ‘made in Switzerland’ brand carries a special association with quality and precision, which is thoroughly pivotal in our niche.”

Multinationals doubling down on Swiss manufacturing and exports include MSD, whose R&D and manufacturing facility in Schachen plays a crucial role in manufacturing clinical supply for studies worldwide and CDMO Lonza, which is continually expanding its Swiss facilities to meet soaring global demand.

To read more about Switzerland, see our recent comprehensive country reports here and here.



France is Europe’s second-largest pharma production hub at EUR 35.8 billion for 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has however seen calls for an even greater chunk of the manufacturing value chain to be relocated to France amid fears of over-reliance on suppliers from India and China.

Big French pharma manufacturers include Sanofi, which moved to invest USD 679 million in vaccine manufacturing in 2020, Servier, Ipsen, and Pierre Fabre.



Italy’s EUR 34 billion-worth of pharmaceutical production in 2019 makes it Europe’s third largest on that metric.

Italian pharma’s manufacturing footprint is centred in the Milan (Lombardy) region, home to 51 facilities and Italy is the leading country in Europe In terms of the value of manufacturing produced by contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs).



Home to innovative global giants such as Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Merck KGaA – which has continuously made big manufacturing investments in recent years – Germany is Europe’s fourth largest pharma producer, creating EUR 33.2 billion worth in 2019 according to the latest EFPIA figures.

As Germany Trade and Invest’s 2021/22 Pharma Industry Overview notes, “The country is the largest exporter of medicinal products and ranks among the top pharmaceutical producers worldwide. In light of the global need for personalized medicine, Germany has also evolved into one of the main suppliers of novel biopharmaceuticals.”



Rounding out the list is the United Kingdom, where pharma production value was valued at EUR 23 billion for 2019.

Flagship British pharma manufacturers include AstraZeneca and GSK and the country is recognising pharmaceutical production as increasingly important, as outlined in the ABPI’s 78 page ‘Manufacturing Vision for UK Pharma’.


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