European Pharma Companies Set To Surge Ahead Of US Rivals - Pharmaceutical Technology

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European Pharma Companies Set To Surge Ahead Of US Rivals
The next two years may see a shake up in the world's current top pharmaceutical companies, with Pfizer likely to be the only US firm to remain in the top five by sales.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 24, Issue 1


The idea that European pharmaceutical companies are set to outperform their US counterparts should be welcome news to politicians, who are eager for the pharmaceutical industry to continue to invest in Europe. According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the European pharmaceutical industry represents 19.2% of total EU private R&D expenditure and 3.5% of EU manufactured exports (12). For several years, EFPIA has been lobbying European politicians to move away from harsh costcontainment approaches and to create a friendlier environment for the pharmaceutical industry, particularly as some companies have chosen to make new investments elsewhere, such as in the US or emerging markets. Between 1990 and 2008, for example, R&D investment in the US grew 5.6 times, compared with only 3.5 times in Europe (12).

Whether Sanofi's surge to the top of the rankings, followed by some of its European colleagues, represents a true strengthening of European pharmaceutical competitiveness is hard to say. Pharmaceutical companies remain unhappy with operating conditions in Europe, even if they have their origins in the region. Over the next couple of years, it will be interesting to see whether European companies such as Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Roche decide to increase their investment in Europe now that their future financial performance looks promising.


1. A. Clark, "Big firms have allowed themselves to be seen as detached from society" (The Guardian, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

2. T. Staton, "Sanofi set to rev past Pfizer in pharma rankings" (FiercePharma, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

3. K. Grogan, "Sanofi to topple Pfizer as sales league leader next year" (PharmaTimes, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

4. Evaluate Pharma, "Pfizer to lose crown to Sanofi as world's biggest drug maker" (2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 201).

5. M. Alazraki, "The 10 Biggest-Selling Drugs That Are About to Lose Their Patent" (Daily Finance, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

6. Ranbaxy, "Ranbaxy and Pfizer settle Lipitor litigation worldwide" (2008)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011).

7. BBC News, "Aventis and Sanofi set for merger". (2004)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011).

8. Reuters, "Sanofi to buy Genzyme for more than $20 billion" (2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011).

9. The Pharmaletter, "Agreement on Sanofi-Aventis/Genzyme deal prompts lawyer comment on Europe/USA differences on takeovers" (2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011).

10. K. Grogan, "Sanofi signs deal with Pfizer to sell generic Lipitor" (PharmaTimes, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

11. A. Torsoli, "Sanofi May Be Too Optimistic in Emerging-Markets Forecast" (Bloomberg, 2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.

12. EFPIA, "Improving Europe's competitiveness" (2011)., accessed 9 Dec., 2011.


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