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Value added
of German
pharmaceutical exports





The pharmaceutical industry is one of Germany’s most important export industries. In recent years, the export of pharmaceutical products has seen above-average growth compared to the other export sectors. In addition, research and development play a prominent role for pharmaceutical companies.

Our new study for Roche focuses on these two aspects. It examines the extent to which the German pharmaceutical industry is particularly value-added intensive and innovative in its exports. 

Pharmaceutical exports generate above-average value-added 

Compared to those in the other industries, German pharmaceutical exports are characterised by above-average value-added intensity and growth dynamics. This means that the export of pharmaceutical products (for example, worth one million euros) is linked to more domestic value added and jobs than the average German export of one million euros.

In an international comparison, the German pharmaceutical industry is shown to be one of the most important players on the world market and has been able to maintain its share of world exports in recent years.

Germany's share of global pharmaceutical patents is declining

In terms of research, the German pharmaceutical industry is losing ground on its international competitors:

  • In terms of research and development expenditure in relation to sales, the pharmaceutical industry is among the two most research-intensive German industrial sectors. Their absolute research expenditure has also risen at an above average rate in recent years.
  • The high global innovation dynamics in the pharmaceutical research sector is also reflected in patents: during the period under review, the number of pharmaceutical patents increased twice as much as the total number of patents worldwide.
  • However, Germany as a research location was not able to keep up with this dynamic. The German share of worldwide patents has fallen noticeably in recent years, due, in particular, to a high increase in the patent activity of the Chinese and Korean research locations.
  • On the one hand, this indicates that global pressure for innovation is likely to remain high in the coming years. On the other, this is a warning signal: in the future, a relative loss of importance in terms of innovation could also lead to a relative loss of importance on the market side – marked by shrinking world export shares. 

Our approach

For this detailed investigation of the German pharmaceutical industry in a national and international comparison, we relied on the available statistical data. This was then analysed with the help of the Prognos model landscape.

Links and downloads

To the study (PDF in German)

Further information, in German (Roche website)

Project team: Dr Georg Klose, Dr Andreas Sachs, Johann Weiss 

Latest update: 07.12.2023

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Johann Weiß

Senior Project Manager

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