“Investment in innovative medicines in Belgium has never been so high”


Pharmaceutical companies in Belgium invested 2.89 billion Euros in Research and Development (R&D) for new medicines in 2016. This is an 11.6% increase compared to 2015, and a new record. This strong growth of the sector also translates into additional employment. In 2016, an additional 552 new positions were created in pharmaceutical companies, almost half of which were created in R&D departments. Overall, the sector employs around 35,250 people in Belgium.

 Key figures of the pharmaceutical sector in Belgium in 2016:

• 2.89 billion Euros investment in R&D (+ 11.6% compared to 2015).

• 4,500 researchers (+5.5% compared to 2015).

• 35,250 jobs (+1.6% compared to 2015).

Source: 2016 Pharmaceutical Figures - publication of pharma.be

The pharmaceutical sector remains the most innovative sector in Belgium. Together, the R&D departments of the pharmaceutical companies in Belgium invested EUR 2.89 billion in research into new and innovative treatments for patients in 2016. This is an increase of 11.6% compared to the previous year, a new record amount for the sector.

The increasing investment in R&D also translates into additional jobs for highly-qualified researchers: almost 4,500 employees in the pharmaceutical sector are actively involved in research. This is an increase of 5.5% compared to 2015.

Catherine Rutten, CEO of pharma.be, the umbrella association of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Belgium:
Belgian investment in R&D of new medicines has never been higher. Pharmaceutical multinationals in Belgium, as well as small and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies, have access to excellent infrastructures and a talented workforce with which to conduct research into medicines and vaccines.

Huge job creator : 552 new jobs

Last year, the sector created 552 extra jobs, resulting in the employment of 35,250 people in Belgium. This is an increase of 1.6 % compared to 2015. The growing employment figure is mainly due to the expansion of R&D and production activities in Belgium. The employment share of the pharmaceutical sector in the entire processing industry in Belgium is 7.6%.

A diversified talent pool

More than half (57.5%) of all pharma employees attended higher education and almost 1 in 3 employees (29%) have a university degree. The pharmaceutical sector also attracts a lot of talent from across the border: almost one in five researchers (18%) comes from abroad.

In addition, the major presence of pharmaceutical companies also indirectly creates a large number of jobs in other sectors, including in hospitals (clinical studies) and in the logistics sector. Each job in the pharmaceutical sector creates approximately 4.6 additional jobs in other sectors.

Catherine Rutten, CEO of pharma.be:
"The exceptional figures for 2016 demonstrate that the pharmaceutical sector is and remains one of the major growth poles of the Belgian economy. The extensive exchange of information and cooperation with the universities and research centres contribute to create a stimulating environment for research and innovation. This also translates into exceptionally high investment figures in the field of R&D.”

Read the full "Pharma figures 2016" publication here


Stefaan Fiers, Spokesman for pharma.be

sf@pharma.be - 0476 76 90 77