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Pharmaceutical Sector Profile - Spain

Executive Summary

Spain is one of the largest EU economies and the world’s thirteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP. It has a population of 46 million. The Spanish pharmaceutical industry is among the top 4 European Union countries (after UK’s departure) in terms of total drugs sales volume. Spain ranks 5th in the European market in terms of production, with € 15 billion in 2018 and is one of the highest employee generators in the country, with over 41,000 employees (52% women employment rate). Spain ranks 4th in the EU in terms of the number of laboratories, with 183 pharmaceutical laboratories.

The Spanish pharmaceutical sector has traditionally been one of the key pillars of the high technology manufacturing industries in Spain. This industry has 5,000 professionals devoted full-time to research (65% are women). The Spanish pharmaceutical industry invested over €1.2 billion in R&D in 2017 (20.3% of total industry investment in R&D),163 pharmaceutical companies made R&D+I investments.

The generic drugs market in Spain in 2019 represented 21% of the total pharmaceutical market in value and 40% in units. In 2018, 283 new pharmaceutical products were launched in Spain by Spanish and foreign pharmaceutical companies, which were sold through pharmacies, generating € 60 million sales. Generic drugs made up to 67% of the new products (189), 4 of the products were based on new active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and the rest were a combination of existing APIs.

Being a net importer country- Canadian pharmaceutical exports to Spain accounted for over $ 19 M CAD in 2019- Spain offers a wide range of opportunities for Canadian companies, especially in: API manufacturing, co-development opportunities for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies with finished products/ ready to market or at a late stage (Phase IIb/ III), in the subsector of nutraceuticals, cosme-ceuticals, natural health and functional products and within the vibrant animal health industry, where opportunities exist for R&D projects, commercialization, technology transfer, co-development and licensing.

Even though there are still some barriers for pharmaceutical companies in Spain, such as the Spanish Government drugs’ prices regulation within the Public Health System, Spain continues to be a very attractive market for pharmaceutical companies worldwide and we encourage Canadian clients to explore this interesting market.

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