The pharmaceutical industry significantly impacts the Swiss economy both directly and indirectly. The direct economic importance can be measured, for example, by the value of exports, number of employees or gross value added (GVA). The latter is calculated by deducting the value of intermediate goods and services from the goods produced (production value). In 2016, the nominal GVA of the pharmaceutical industry amounted to 28.9 billion Swiss francs – an approximate fourfold increase compared to 20 years earlier. With an average annual growth rate of real GVA of 7.2 per cent, the pharmaceutical industry has impacted considerably on the growth of the Swiss economy in recent years.
The indirect effects of the pharmaceutical industry can be measured in addition to its direct effects. Approximately 138,000 additional (full-time) jobs have been generated through cross-industry collaboration with other companies, taking pharmaceutical industry intermediate goods and services into account. Similarly, the employee demand for consumer goods and services together with the tax revenue from the pharmaceutical companies have an indirect effect on the overall economy. The direct and indirect GVA amount to approximately 49.6 billion Swiss francs.
Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland invest heavily in research and development (R&D). In 2012, the share of private-sector investment in R&D accounted for around 2 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP). This high rate of investment highlights the importance of the Swiss research hub. In addition, the sector is making a significant contribution to ensuring that Switzerland is also perceived as an innovation driver internationally, leading the European and global innovation rankings.