“With a turnover just over 2.3 billion euros, Italy confirms itself as the leader in Cdmo pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe, ahead of Germany (2.1 billion) and France (1.9 billion). And if we also consider the other countries of the old continent, the total turnover of the sector is almost 10 billion. Italy is also confirmed as one of the main countries in terms of employees: 11,500 people employed, 90% with a degree or diploma. The highest figure after Germany (12,629) “. This was stated by Giorgio Bruno, president of the Cdmo Group – Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Specialists of Farmindustria. The third party sector – Cdmo, or Contract Development and Manufacturing – has established itself since the 1990s in international level as a widespread organizational model, for the production and development of drugs in dedicated factories and laboratories, with extensive operational capabilities.
The confirmation that pharmaceutical manufacturing flies also in 2021 comes from the Prometeia studio, now in its sixth edition. According to the report, Italy is not only the first continental producer with 2.3 billion euros of developed production value (equal to 23% of the approximately 10 billion estimated for the total of Europe) but the companies active in our country have conquer more and more relevant spaces in the European panorama. This is thanks, in particular, to investments for development in productions with greater complexity and added value, which have sustained strong growth in foreign sales and allowed a constant strengthening of the performance of this sector compared to the manufacturing average.
Organic and high-tech productions also did well “which showed – underlines Bruno – a strong expansion over the last decade, reaching almost 20% of the total turnover in 2020, from 5% in 2010. The data also reveal a strong increase in injectable productions, especially in 2020, which represent 50% of turnover. The sector shows growth in all its specializations – he adds – and an increase in the share of injectable and organic and high-tech productions. A positive trend confirmed also in 2021 “.
The exported turnover – the study reads – has more than doubled in the last decade, causing the share of direct production beyond national borders to rise from 57% in 2010 to levels close to 75% in the two-year period 2020-2021. A significant contribution to this growth was offered by the continuous strengthening of direct sales to advanced markets, such as the United States, which in 2021 will represent 30% of the sector’s overall exports, the 27 EU countries (35%) and Japan. (4%).
The high propensity to invest, also in digitization and environmental sustainability, has contributed to the constant development of the sector. The role of the supply chain is also important. A fundamental role in allowing the CDMos active in Italy to strengthen their leadership in the European panorama was also played by the constant propensity to invest.
“In 2021 – continues President Bruno – the ratio between investments and turnover is estimated at 20.1%, with an incidence almost triple compared to the manufacturing average and growing compared to 2020 (14.3%) and 2019 ( 13.7%). 2/3 of the investments concern the production lines – the heart of the sector’s activity – with a net increase in new lines / plants, signaling a further expansion of production capacity “.
In more recent years, the propensity to invest in the digitization of plants and in improving energy efficiency and, in general, in environmental sustainability (waste management, air and climate protection) has been particularly high.
In describing the success of the sector, the role of the supply chain should also be underlined: the high degree of integration with upstream and downstream operators in fact allows CDMs to respond quickly and with a high degree of flexibility and innovation to the requests of end customers. The stability of relations along the supply chain is therefore a strategic aspect for a supply chain which, also considering production inputs, capital goods and specialized services instrumental to production, reaches to activate around 4 billion euros.
And pharmaceutical manufacturing, thanks to quality, excellence, technology and innovation, has faced the pandemic as a protagonist. But there are obstacles. “” In order to maintain and expand the activities of the CDMO in the coming years, also with a view to consolidating European pharmaceutical production – observes Giorgio Bruno – the partnership between institutions and companies will be strategic to increase the competitiveness of the sector. In this sense , it is essential for companies to be able to count on a stable and clear regulatory framework, a fundamental requirement for investments, with public administration decision-making processes in full compliance with international quality and safety standards, but faster and suitable for innovation and new technologies, in order to increase the attractiveness of investments in Italy and Europe ”, he concludes.
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