Key player of the economy, Hungarian pharmaceutical production has a long history in Hungary, and its role is both of national and foreign economic importance. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic that reached Hungary in the spring of 2020 and the emergency that arose consequently, it became clear that Hungarian production is a key issue not only in terms of national economy, but also of national security. A ‘national economic footprint’ study on the achieved sectoral results was prepared in 2019, based on CSO (Hungarian Central Statistical Office) data and reports published in the autumn of 2020.
The data of CSO show that the pharmaceutical industry increased its output by nearly HUF 100 billion in one year by 2019; that year pharmaceutical companies produced products and services worth HUF 1.119 billion for themselves, other companies, and consumers. This amounts to HUF 65 million per employee in the pharmaceutical industry in 2019 – for comparison, it was HUF 87 million in the forerunner automotive industry.
It is also important to note that in addition to its high output, the pharmaceutical industry is also a significant value creator: in 2019 it generated HUF 530 billion in gross value added. This amounts to a gross value added of HUF 31 million per pharmaceutical employee - HUF 15 million per employee in the automotive industry.
According to the data, most medicines manufactured in Hungary are exported: in 2019, 86% (HUF 777 billion) of the total sales of HUF 907 billion was generated by export sales. It is unique among the Visegrád countries that Hungary’s export value is higher than its import demand, which resulted in a HUF 400 billion surplus in the foreign trade balance in 2019.
The outstanding competitiveness of the industry is also indicated by the amount spent on research and development. From 2018 to 2019, the member companies of MAGYOSZ increased their research and development expenditures by 11 percent to HUF 76 billion, which is 29% of the R&D expenditures in the manufacturing industry.
A basis for all this is that the pharmaceutical industry employs a significant proportion of highly skilled workforce. At the sixteen MAGYOSZ member companies that provided data for the study, 43% of the employees have higher and 48% have secondary education.