Pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland

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One of the many buildings of Novartis in Basel
The headquarters of Roche Diagnostics in Rotkreuz, Switzerland
The headquarters of Actelion in Allschwil

The pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland directly and indirectly employs about 135,000 people.[1] It contributes to 5.7% of the gross domestic product of Switzerland and contributes to 30% of the country's exports.[1] In 2017 about 30% of Swiss exports (worth $84.8 billion) were chemical products.[2] In the same year Switzerland was the second largest exporter of packaged medicine in the world, with about 11% of the global total, worth $36.5 billion.[3]

Switzerland is home to many pharmaceutical companies, including very large groups, such as Novartis and Hoffmann-La Roche. In 2013, 41 life science companies had their international headquarters (and 29 more their regional headquarters) in Switzerland.[4][5]



A number of pharmaceutical companies are headquartered in Switzerland:

Additionally, several non-domestic pharmaceutical companies have regional headquarters in Switzerland, including:

Finally, other companies with relevant international activities in Switzerland are:

Life sciences[edit]

70% of the investments in life sciences in Europe are made in the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland.[4][5]

In addition to pharmaceutical companies (65 companies), Switzerland is home to many companies in the fields of biotechnology (338 companies) or medical devices and technology (341 companies).[4][5] According to KPMG, there are 120 life science companies in Basel, 132 in Zürich and 92 in the Lemanic region.[4][5]

In 2013, 41 life science companies had their international headquarters (and 29 more their regional headquarters) in Switzerland.[4][5] In Switzerland, there are about 51,000 workers in the field of medical technologies (1,600 companies) and 13,700 on the field of biotechnologies.[7]


Basel region[edit]

According to Le Temps, there are about 900 pharmaceutical and medtech companies (50,000 workers) in the region of Basel.[7] The region of Zurich, mainly active in medical technologies employs 21,000 workers.[7]

Lemanic region[edit]

The former headquarters of Merck Serono in Geneva, which now hosts the Campus Biotech

According to L'Hebdo, there are 750 biotech and medtech companies (20,000 employees) in the Lemanic region.[8] Among them, 450 companies develop and/or produce drugs.[8] In addition to that, there are 500 laboratories from universities and university hospitals (in the Lemanic region).[8]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stephan Vaterlaus, Stephan Suter and Barbara Fischer, "The Importance of the Pharmaceutical Industry for Switzerland", A study undertaken on behalf of Interpharma, September 2011.
  2. ^ Simoes, AJG; Hidalgo, CA. "OEC: The Observatory of Economic Complexity". The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  3. ^ Simoes, AJG; Hidalgo, CA. "OEC: Which countries export Packaged Medicaments? (2017)". The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Site Selection for Life Sciences Companies, European Life Sciences Cluster 2013 Report, KPMG (page visited on 4 November 2013).
  5. ^ a b c d e (in French) Willy Boder, "La Suisse compétitive dans les sciences de la vie", Le Temps, Tuesday 5 November 2013, p. 15.
  6. ^ a b c (in French) Willy Boder, "Le grand chambardement de la pharma", Le Temps, Monday 7 July 2014, page 17.
  7. ^ a b c (in French) Dejan Nikolic, "Les sciences de la vie recrutent à Genève grâce à des ex-employés de Merck Serono", Le Temps, Tuesday 21 April 2015, page 13.
  8. ^ a b c (in French) Health Valley Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, L'Hebdo, 2010.


  • (in French) Karl Lüönd, Principe actif: la connaissance. Passé et présent de l'industrie pharmaceutique suisse, Interpharma and éditions Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 2008.

External links[edit]