Drugs and Medicine Exports by Country

Prescription drug sales include pills and capsules

Prescription drug sales

Global sales from exported drugs and medicines by country in 2016 totaled US$318.6 billion.

Overall, the value of drugs and medicine exports were up by an average 0.4% for all exporting countries since 2012 when drugs and medicines shipments were valued at $317.3 billion. Year over year, there was a -1.5% decline from 2015 to 2016.

Among continents, European countries accounted for the highest dollar value worth of drugs and medicine exports during 2016 with shipments amounting to $251.9 billion or 79% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters at 9.8% while 9.4% of worldwide drugs and medicine shipments originated from Asia.

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for drugs and medicines is 3004.

Drugs and Medicine Exports by Country

Countries

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of drugs and medicines during 2016:

  1. Germany: US$48.6 billion (15.3% of total exported drugs and medicines)
  2. Switzerland: $39.9 billion (12.5%)
  3. Belgium: $26.5 billion (8.3%)
  4. France: $22.8 billion (7.1%)
  5. United States: $22.5 billion (7.1%)
  6. United Kingdom: $22 billion (6.9%)
  7. Ireland: $19.8 billion (6.2%)
  8. Italy: $16.6 billion (5.2%)
  9. Netherlands: $15.5 billion (4.9%)
  10. India: $11.6 billion (3.6%)
  11. Spain: $7.5 billion (2.3%)
  12. Canada: $7.4 billion (2.3%)
  13. Sweden: $5.6 billion (1.8%)
  14. Austria: $5.3 billion (1.7%)
  15. Israel: $3.9 billion (1.2%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 86.5% of all drugs and medicine exports in 2016 (by value).

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing drugs and medicine exporters since 2012 were: Canada (up 84.5%), India (up 38.2%), Switzerland (up 27%) and the Netherlands (up 17.5%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported drugs and medicine sales were led by: France (down -17.1%), Spain (down -16.2%), Israel (down -11.8%), Belgium (down -10.9%) and Sweden (down -10.5%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for drugs and medicines during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s drugs and medicine exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. Switzerland: US$23.3 billion (net export surplus up 38.1% since 2012)
  2. Germany: $22.6 billion (up 9.4%)
  3. Ireland: $16.9 billion (up 6.5%)
  4. India: $10.7 billion (up 46.5%)
  5. France: $7.7 billion (down -4.2%)
  6. Belgium: $5 billion (down -37.8%)
  7. Netherlands: $4.2 billion (up 472.2%)
  8. United Kingdom: $3.1 billion (down -53.1%)
  9. Sweden: $2.9 billion (down -10.7%)
  10. Singapore: $2.6 billion (down -34.5%)
  11. Israel: $2.6 billion (down -17.3%)
  12. Austria: $2.3 billion (up 11.6%)
  13. Italy: $2.2 billion (down -17%)
  14. Slovenia: $1.5 billion (down -4.2%)
  15. Malta: $781.2 million (up 287.2%)

In 2016, Switzerland surpassed Germany for having the highest surplus in the international trade of drugs and medicines. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Switzerland’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for drugs and medicines during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s drugs and medicine import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. United States: -US$45 billion (net export deficit up 96.9% since 2012)
  2. Japan: -$14.3 billion (down -2.7%)
  3. China: -$11.3 billion (up 48.8%)
  4. Russia: -$6.5 billion (down -35.7%)
  5. Australia: -$4.1 billion (down -9.1%)
  6. Saudi Arabia: -$3.2 billion (up 9.9%)
  7. South Korea: -$2.7 billion (up 26.9%)
  8. Spain: -$2.7 billion (up 33.1%)
  9. Brazil: -$2.4 billion (down -3.4%)
  10. Turkey: -$2 billion (down -6.3%)
  11. Taiwan: -$1.9 billion (up 11.6%)
  12. Romania: -$1.8 billion (up 23.6%)
  13. Poland: -$1.6 billion (down -20.4%)
  14. Czech Republic: -$1.6 billion (down -17.4%)
  15. Egypt: -$1.5 billion (up 21.6%)

United States incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of drugs and medicine. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights America’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for drugs and medicine-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.

Companies

Drugs and Medicine Exporting Companies

Below are conglomerates that rule the global pharmaceuticals market. Shown within parenthesis is the country where the company is headquartered.

  • Pfizer (United States)
  • Novartis (Switzerland)
  • Sanofi (France)
  • Roche Holding (Switzerland)
  • Merck & Co (United States)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (United Kingdom)
  • AstraZeneca (United Kingdom)
  • Eli Lilly & Co (United States)
  • Abbott Laboratories (United States)
  • McKesson (United States)
  • AbbVie (United States)
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (United States)
  • Teva Pharmaceutical (Israel)
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical (Japan)
  • Merck (Germany)
  • Novo Nordisk (Denmark)
  • Cardinal Health (United States)
  • Otsuka Holding (Japan)
  • Astellas Pharma (Japan)
  • AmerisourceBergen (United States)
  • Daiichi Sankyo (Japan)
  • Allergan (United States)
  • Mylan (United States)
  • Actavis (Ireland)
  • Sinopharm Group (China)
  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals (Canada)


 
See also Heart Pacemaker Export Sales by Country, Perfumes Exports by Country, Jewelry Exports by Country and Hearing Aids Importers by Country

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 13, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 13, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 13, 2017

Wikipedia, List of pharmaceutical companies. Accessed on May 13, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 13, 2017