Economic Impact

The Biopharmaceutical Industry Boosts the U.S. Economy


The men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical sector strive every day to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines. This research and innovation results in high-wage jobs, significant tax revenues and growing economic outputs for local communities, as well as ensuring that patients across the country and around the world are benefiting from the latest treatments and cures.

According to a 2017 report prepared by TEConomy Partners, LLC for PhRMA, “The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry is not only a world leader in the development of new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics and one of our nation’s top performing industry innovation drivers, but is also a highly valuable industry in terms of its economic contributions and impacts.”

As a national leader, the biopharmaceutical sector’s research and development (R&D) enterprise drives these economic impacts. In fact, biopharmaceutical manufacturers spend more in R&D relative to sales than any other manufacturing industry, investing more than six times the average for all manufacturing industries.

Explore all fact sheets at the Industry Economic Impact page for the entire U.S., the 50 states and the District of Columbia on this map.

Download the full 2017 Economic Impact of the U.S. Biopharmaceutical Industry report below.

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Creating jobs

The U.S. biopharmaceutical sector directly employs more than 800,000 workers and supports a total of more than 4.7 million jobs across the country.

The industry supports 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 United States, helping to generate jobs across a broad and diverse supply chain – from suppliers to retail to transportation.

The jobs created by the industry boast 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 2015, employees in direct biopharmaceutical sector jobs earned an average salary of $129,527, which was more than twice the average $58,603 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 $584 billion in the U.S. in 2015. The sector also supported another $735 billion through its vendors and suppliers and through the economic activity of its workforce, resulting in a total of $1.3 trillion in total economic output.

Although just a snapshot of the sector’s total impact, these findings demonstrate the importance of a strong and vibrant biopharmaceutical industry in helping other businesses grow and contributing to robust local and national economies.