According to data published by Assolombarda (The relevance of the Life Science supply chain in Lombardy: benchmarking between Italian and European regions – report N ° 09/2020 Assolombarda) the life sciences sector in Italy shows a value of production of Euro 225 billion, an added value of 100 billion and over 1.8 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 25 billion added value) and number of employees. The region’s life sciences sector accounts for 32%, 26% 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 50 billion (2.8% of national GDP), equal to 12.8% of the region’s GDP.
In 2018 the health sector in Lombardy generated Euro 25 billion in terms of added value, with an additional 24 billion including associated industries. Health services account for Euro 14 billion in terms of added value (57.8% of the total value of the sector), while commerce and industry generate a total of Euro 10 billion; the pharmaceutical industry is the most relevant segment in terms of value of production. In Lombardy, the percentage incidence of the added value of pharmaceuticals on total is 1.8% and that on tournover 1.5%.
The Lombard contribution to the national life sciences supply chain is relevant: in Lombardy, where about one sixth of the national population resides (16.7%) and more than one fifth of GDP is generated (22.1%), the 19.9% of the employees, 25.5% of the added value and 31.7% of the value of the national production.
The other benchmark regions, on the other hand, show an incidence of the economic quantities analyzed on the national total substantially aligned with the distribution of the population and GDP on the territory. Furthermore, it should be noted that Lombardy’s already significant contribution to the growth of Italian Life Sciences is further increasing. The region is experiencing very sustained growth rates higher than those observed at national level: + 27.5% vs + 13.2% of the value of production between 2014 and 2018, + 22.8% vs + 7.2% of the added value.
The Pharmaceutical Sector in Lombardy
The pharmaceutical industry is a cornerstone of the local economy.
In Lombardy, the incidence of the added value of pharmaceuticals on the total is 1.8% and that of turnover 1.5%, values lower only than those of Catalonia (3.5% the weight of added value and 2.5% the weight of the turnover).
Lombardy is an excellence of the European pharmaceutical industry, also confirmed by the considerable increase in its competitive capacity and international openness. In 2019 Lombard pharmaceutical companies exported goods for 8.4 billion (26% of total Italian sector exports), with a growth more than double compared to 2008 (+ 140%) and higher than that experienced by all European benchmarks.
Research in Lombardy
Life sciences is a research-intensive sector and it is increasingly based on an open innovation model.
Scientific research is measured both in terms of quantity, published articles, and of quality. Between 2014 and 2018, Lombardy recorded a significant advance in scientific production (+ 11%), higher than all the benchmark regions. However, in terms of ‘quantity’, the numbers of Life Sciences publications in Lombardy continues to be below the benchmarks: 659 articles per million inhabitants, compared with 723 in Baden-Württemberg, 894 in Cataluña and, above all, 1,516 in Île de France which stands out clearly with double production compared to the benchmarks. It is important to remember, however, that compared to Germany and France, Italy has lower levels of investment in R&D, in absolute terms.