Pharmaceutical industry: a reason for investing in Lombardy

The pharmaceutical industry is strategic and is getting more and more attention by media and analysts commenting FDI, EY and Bain recently released reports on it. A good number of articles and reports focuses on the trend of the pharmaceutical industry in India, but it is very interesting to analyze the role of pharma in Italy and especially in Lombardy, where it has an important place on the local economy.

The pharmaceutical sector has been fundamental for the Italian economy and represents a synthesis of the excellent production of scientific articles, tradition and innovation in R&D and experience in building and managing plants and industrial districts. The main international players are present in Italy, including Roche, GSK, Pfizer, Novartis, Bayer (despite of reports at, Sanofi-Aventis, Lilly and about 70% of production (accounting for more than 25,000 € million) is sold abroad (

One of the weaknesses of the Italian system, the fragmentation of the sector and the small dimension of companies, was already partially affected by a progressive consolidation in the industry.

As blogged and analyzed by a post made on: Some of the historical pharmaceutical Italian companies were bought or participated by international players, but usually no off shoring followed the M&A. Last case study is Rottapharm, destination of a significant investment by the Swedish Meda AB: the research division (based north of Milan) is still successfully in the hands of the Italian founder.

Lombardy is not only the leading region in Italy for the pharmaceutical sector with 31.000 people employed directly in this industry and 17,000 workers in the supply chain (chemical, mechanical, paper) Lombardy is also the first European region for the chemical sector in terms of employees and number of companies.

The future appears to be bright: a new opportunity suddenly became important: as Novartis claimed, for the Swiss pharmaceutical industry having plants and research centers in the Euro area is now an advantage and Lombardy is very next to Switzerland.

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