According to data published by Assolombarda (La rilevanza della filiera Life Science in Lombardia: benchmarking tra regioni italiane ed europee – rapporto N°07/2018 – Assolombarda) the life sciences sector  in Italy shows a value of production of Euro 207 billion, an added value of 95.5 billion and over 1.7 million employees. The total added value – including related industries – amounts to 10.0% of the national GDP.
Lombardy is the most highly developed Italian region in terms of value of production (with more than Euro 23.5 billion added value) and number of employees. The region’s life sciences sector accounts for 31%, 25% and 20% of the national numbers with regard to value of production, added value and employment respectively.
If we add associated industries, the added value of the life sciences sector in Lombardy amounts to Euro 45.8 billion (2.7% of national GDP), equal to 12.4% of the region’s GDP.
In 2016 the health sector in Lombardy generated Euro 23.5 billion in terms of added value, with an additional 22.3 billion including associated industries. Health services account for Euro 14 billion in terms of added value (59.6% of the total value of the sector), while commerce and industry generate a total of Euro 9 billion; the pharmaceutical industry is the most relevant segment in terms of value of production, added value and number of employees (4.3 billion, 18.5%).
The Pharmaceutical Sector in Lombardy
The pharmaceutical industry is a cornerstone of the local economy.
In Lombardy it generates 46.5% of the national added value, with a value of production amounting to Euro 14.9 billion and an added value of Euro 4.3 billion.
If we compare it to some European benchmark regions such as Baden-Württemberg, Cataluña and Île de France, the pharmaceutical industry accounts for 2.2% of the total added value (above the benchmark average of 1.9%) and for 1.6% of revenues (in line with the benchmark average).
Lombardy is an example of excellence within the European pharmaceutical industry. Over the last few years, it has increased its competitiveness and international scope. From 2010 to 2017, it increased its exports by 59%, above the European average of 42% and more than major European Countries (50% Germany, 20% Spain, 14% UK, 9% France).
Research in Lombardy
Life sciences is a research-intensive sector and it is increasingly based on an open innovation model.
The quantitatively highest contribution to research comes from the pharmaceutical industry, which invested Euro 1.5 billion in R&D in 2017 (7% of the total national research, up by 20% in the last three years), with 6,400 employees. Lombardy’s pharmaceutical industries contributed about 1/3 of the national investment in R&D, with an excellent performance both in basic and clinical research.
In addition to attracting foreign capital, Lombardy’s research has made available innovative therapies for previously incurable diseases. Clinical studies play a major role as capital attractors, accounting for an annual investment of Euro 1 billion.
The healthcare sector in Lombardy can also rely on research and innovation hubs like universities and research hospitals; research hospitals in Lombardy have performed a total of 303 trials, equal to 32.9% of the trials performed nationwide. 63% of these are financed and promoted by companies, 36.7% by other organizations and third parties (non-profit organizations, universities and individuals), and 0.3% by central public health institutions.
Lombardy among the 4 leading regions in Europe in the life sciences sector
Lombardy is one of the leading regions in Europe in the pharmaceutical sector, together with Baden-Württemberg, Cataluña and Île de France and it stands out for its extremely virtuous performance in the hospital field.
Despite a lower intensity of care compared to benchmarks, hospital performance is good thanks to low hospitalization rates. Lombardy’s good performance in the pharmaceutical sector is due to its per capita added value, which is higher than benchmarks, and to its strong industrial propensity.
With regard to the number of life sciences articles per million inhabitants, Lombardy’s number is in line with Cataluña (627 and 606 articles respectively), but lower than Baden- Württemberg (731 articles) and Île de France (close to 1,400 articles). These regions show more homogeneous results in terms of “quality” of research: 2.2% of highly mentioned articles of the total scientific articles in Lombardy, compared to 3.1% in Baden-Württemberg.