Europe accounts for 22.2 percent of global pharma sales; more than Africa, Asia, Australasia, and Latin America combined, but less than half of North America.
The biopharmaceutical industry is a key contributor to the European economy in terms of both trade surplus and employment; especially highly-skilled R&D jobs.
The European country with the most positive trade balance in terms of pharmaceuticals is Switzerland, followed by Germany and Ireland. At the other end of the scale, the country with the largest trade deficit is Russia.
Within Europe, the VAT rate applicable to medicines varies greatly, from a 25 percent rate for both prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicines in Denmark, to a 0 percent rate on both in Malta.
Generics penetration also varies wildly across Europe. In Russia, over half of pharmaceutical sales are generics (58 percent), whereas in Switzerland, generics only account for 11.6 percent of total sales.