Economic Impact

The Biopharmaceutical Industry Helps Strengthen the U.S. Economy


A major contributor to the U.S. economy, the biopharmaceutical sector generates high-quality jobs and powers economic output for the U.S. economy.

According to a 2016 report by TEConomy Partners, LLC, which was engaged by PhRMA to develop an independent estimate of the current size and structure of the U.S. biopharmaceutical sector and its total economic impact on the U.S. economy: “At a time when the economic competitiveness at the national and state level is recognized to be strongly rooted in the capacity to advance innovation-based industries, the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry stands out as a leading research and development (R&D) and advanced manufacturing industry.”

These economic impacts are driven by the industry’s research and development (R&D) enterprise. The biopharmaceutical sector invests more in R&D relative to sales than any other manufacturing industry, investing more than six times the average for all manufacturing industries.

Creating jobs

The U.S. biopharmaceutical sector employs nearly 854,000 workers and supports a total of 4.5 million jobs across the country.

The industry helps support a vibrant scientific and economic ecosystem that is vital to the U.S. economy and our country’s competitiveness in the global market. Biopharmaceutical companies put down roots in communities across the country, helping to generate jobs across a whole range of sectors, from suppliers to retail to personal services.

The jobs the industry creates have high wages and require a workforce with diverse skills and educational levels, from Ph.D. scientists to entry-level technicians, to support staff of all kinds. In 2014, employees in direct biopharmaceutical sector jobs earned an average salary of $123,108, more than twice the average $57,149 annual salary for all other U.S. jobs.

Overall Economic Contribution

The biopharmaceutical sector’s economic output, which represents the value of the goods and services produced by the sector, totaled more than $558 billion in the United States in 2014. The sector also supported another $659B through its vendors and suppliers and through the economic activity of its workforce, for a total of $1.2 trillion.

Although just a snapshot of the sector’s total impact, these findings demonstrate the importance of strong and vibrant biopharmaceutical industry in helping other businesses to grow and contribute to a strong local economy. Explore all fact sheets at the Industry Economic Impact page for the entire United States, the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Download the full 2016 Economic Impact of the U.S. Biopharmaceutical Industry report below.