Importance of the Healthcare Industries
The Pharmaceutical sector makes a significant contribution to European and global well-being through the availability of safe and effective medicines, economic growth and sustainable employment. Overall, EU-27 production of pharmaceuticals was estimated at €190 billion with exports equivalent to €210 billion and imports accounting for €161 billion (a positive trade balance of €49 billion) in 2007. For further information, please consult our facts & figures page.
The Medical devices sector covers a dynamic, innovation-driven, highly competitive industry within a global market. It covers some 10 000 types of products, from the simplest tongue depressor to the most sophisticated scanning equipment. The Community market amounts to ca. €72 billion (in 2007) with an increasing trend (annual growth up to 6%). It is the second biggest market worldwide (ca. 33%) after the US (ca. 37%) and before Japan (ca. 15%). There are more than 11 000 individual medical device business entities in Europe, about 80% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. The medical device industry employs more than 500 000 people in Europe.
The eHealth sector includes a number of large European-based companies specialised in e-health solutions, including world leaders in their fields. This sector comprises around 5 000 European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in various sub-sectors of e-health. For further information, please consult the dedicated webpage of the Information Society Directorate-General and our Lead Market Initiative webpage for eHealth.
The Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General is involved in developing several political and technical initiatives to address the key business problems faced by healthcare industries.