In 2020, exports and imports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products increased (blue dots in the visual below) in the vast majority of the EU Member States - despite the general decrease in trade (orange dots) following the restrictive measures taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Slovenia reported the largest increase of imports in medicinal products (+31%) and the second largest increase in exports (+42%). Greece registered the largest increase in exports of medicinal products (+48%).
A list of the country codes and the full names of the respective Member States can be accessed here.
This information comes from recently published data on international trade in goods. This news item presents only a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.
USA and Switzerland: main EU trading partners for medicine
The main destination of extra-EU exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products in 2020 was the United States (accounting for 34% of EU exports of these products), followed by Switzerland (12%), the United Kingdom (8%) and China (6%).
Imports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products to the EU came mainly from Switzerland (accounting for 35% of EU imports of these products) and the United States (28%), followed by the United Kingdom (12%).
Between 2019 and 2020, the trade in medicinal and pharmaceutical products from Switzerland, the United Kingdom and most other countries increased, with the exception of imports from the United States (-11%; close to the general drop in US imports to the EU).
During this period, exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products to the United States and Switzerland increased by 14% and 20% respectively, while exports to the United Kingdom dropped by 15%. Increases were observed for a majority of other EU trade partners.
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The United Kingdom is considered as an extra-EU partner country for the EU for the whole period covered by this article. However, the United Kingdom was still part of the internal market until the end of the transitory period (31 December 2020), meaning that data on trade with the United Kingdom were still based on statistical concepts applicable to trade between the EU Member States. Consequently, while imports from any other extra-EU trade partner are grouped by country of origin, the United Kingdom data reflect the country of consignment. In practice this means that the goods imported by the EU from the United Kingdom were physically transported from the United Kingdom but part of these goods could have been of other origin than the United Kingdom. For this reason, data on trade with the United Kingdom are not fully comparable with data on trade with other extra-EU trade partners.
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