It's no secret that the biopharmaceutical sector provides jobs - and a wide range of jobs, at that. We're not just researchers in lab coats. In terms of jobs we support, we're also the drivers of trucks that help medicines reach pharmacies, the construction workers and technicians who help construct the facilities and equipment necessary for manufacture of medicines, and more. Ultimately, it's an intricate web of workers that all play a role in the important work that we do.
Unfortunately, that web is not invincible.
The Labor Department's most recent jobs report was a sobering reminder of this, especially in light of the ongoing discussions in DC and beyond on America's budget deficit. Now, as our nation's leaders consider possible approaches to reduce the deficit, they should keep in mind how much the U.S. benefits from a strong private sector - particularly the innovative industries that help support American jobs and economic growth.
Today's new data
from the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice casts some new light on the role that biopharmaceutical research companies play in our nation's economy, with 675,000 direct jobs in 2009 supporting a total of 4 million jobs in 2009. With total economic output of nearly $1 trillion, the sector generated an estimated $85 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues in 2009.
But the Battelle report, which was supported by PhRMA, also stresses that those jobs are subject to outside forces.
For example, a $20 billion annual reduction in sector revenue could result in 260,000 job losses across the U.S. economy.
The report's authors don't specify the sorts of policies ore events that could lead to this potentially devastating job loss. However, as lawmakers debate proposals including government-mandated rebates in Medicare Part D, it is clear that these jobs could be at risk.
After all, history provides precedent. Germany, once considered "the world's medicine cabinet," no longer enjoys the robust jobs-producing life sciences sector that once flourished there.
Now is the time for America to look forward to renewed growth - not for us to take a step back economically because of misguided policies that could stifle growth.