Manufacturing Day 2020: A closer look at the biopharmaceutical industry’s contributions

Megan Van Etten   |     October 2, 2020   |   SHARE THIS

The first Friday of October marks Manufacturing Day, an annual recognition of the critical role manufacturing industries play in powering innovation and generating jobs and economic growth for Americans. The United States is a global leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, providing high-wage STEM jobs, a growing source of exports and sustained investment and productivity gains.

In honor of this day, we are highlighting the impact and benefit of America’s advanced biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Let’s take a closer look: 

  • Between 2000 and 2016, the biopharmaceutical sector outpaced all other manufacturing industries in economic output growth.

  • Biopharmaceutical companies operate more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the United States and continue to adopt emerging technologies to boost manufacturing efficiency.

  • Among R&D intensive industries, biopharmaceutical companies were the largest exporter of goods in 2019.

  • Biopharmaceutical industry directly employing more than 811,000 Americans, nearly 120,000 of which are high-wage manufacturing jobs, and boast more than double the level of STEM jobs than other U.S. manufacturing industries.

  • Wages in biopharmaceutical manufacturing are 72% greater than the average wage for all U.S. manufacturing.

Continued investment is critical to our industry’s manufacturing leadership. In 2019, PhRMA member companies invested $83 billion in R&D, the highest level of investment on record, and nearly $1 trillion in the development of new treatments and cures over the past two decades. In total, the biopharmaceutical industry accounts for roughly one-sixth of total domestic R&D spending by U.S. businesses, the highest input of any industry.

In addition to these economic contributions, the biopharmaceutical sector’s focus on R&D is fueling a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of treatment and vaccine development, the industry is expanding its unique manufacturing capabilities to ramp up production for medicines and vaccines even before they are submitted for regulatory review. In fact, some companies are further modifying facilities, shoring up supply chains and hiring new staff.

It is vital for the biopharmaceutical industry to be able to maintain its global manufacturing footprint. Unfortunately, recent policy proposals threaten the complex biopharmaceutical supply chain that has been built over decades. While the industry is focused on researching and developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, policymakers should avoid major supply chain changes that could disrupt the manufacturing of medicines. Instead, it’s imperative that lawmakers support pro-innovation policies that help spur new medicines for patients.

To learn more about biopharmaceutical manufacturing, please visit www.phrma.org/Advocacy/Research-Development/Manufacturing.

Megan Van Etten

Megan Van Etten Megan Van Etten is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA. She is responsible for leading the association’s public affairs efforts on international issues, including trade, intellectual property and access to medicines. Prior to joining PhRMA, Megan was director of media and external communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and communications director at the Beer Institute. She has also worked as a communications consultant for global public relations firms. When not at the office, Megan enjoys exploring new Washington, D.C. restaurants and traveling with her husband and friends.

Topics: Research and Development, Economic Impact, Manufacturing, STEM

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