Chemicals and Pharma

Die Chemie- und Pharmaindustrie repräsentiert eine der zukunftsträchtigsten Branchen in Österreich. Generika sind in Österreich im Vormarsch und auch die Alternativmedizin hat ein durchaus positives Image.

The chemical industry is made up of the following branches: Chemical-technical products, chemicals, cleaning equipment and detergents, cleaning service, cleaning machines, chemical laboratories, monument-, facade- and building cleaners, laboratory equipment, manufacturers of chemical and pyrotechnic products, cosmetics industry, research institutions, dosing technology, paints and varnishes, lubrication means, explosive industry, body care means and perfumery, seals, polyester, manufacturers of washing agents and textile auxiliary substances, plastics producing and processing industry, plastic packaging, fertilizers, greases, flooring materials, chemical gases, chemical products for pest control, chemical building materials, chemical commodities, synthetic resin coatings, silicones, textile-, leather- and paper auxiliary substances, and many more.

The most significant industrial sectors of the pharmaceutical industry include pharmaceutical compounds, biological goods, manufacturing of pharmaceutical goods, nursing products in the healthcare sector, generic drugs, herbals and herbal products, trade with drugstore goods, pharmacies, vaccines, public and private hospitals with research and development departments, office-based physicians, animal pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicine, and many more. The key players in this market segments include Bayer, Novartis, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Hoffmann-La Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ratiopharm, Baxter, and many more.

Rising sales figures for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry 

The chemical and pharmaceutical industry represents one of the most promising sectors in Austria (WIFO). The Austrian pharmaceutical companies are distinguished between indigenous manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, also called as manufacturers, and importers of proprietary pharmaceuticals, who are also called as depositors. Half of the domestic pharmaceutical firms are small enterprises (+9 employees), the remaining ones represent SMEs (+10 to 250 employees) or large concerns (+250 employees) (Pharmig).

In 2010, 27,736 people were employed in Austria´s manufacturing sector for pharmaceutical or chemical products (HVSV). In the recent years the „Statistik Austria“ has been observing a stagnating trend in the employment figures. In 2010 the total revenue in the chemical industry amounted to EUR 6,205 million resp. EUR 3,464 million in the pharmaceutical industry (cf. Statistik Austria).

Pharmacies in Austria

In 2010 there could be found more than 2,259 pharmacies in Austria. The highest density of pharmacies can be found in Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Styria (cf. Österreichische Apothekenkammer 2011).

Generic drugs on the move 

Generic drugs (cost-efficient pharmaceuticals) become increasingly popular in Austria and are, despite differing viewpoints widely accepted among health insurance companies, office-based physicians, and patients. Owing to the new pharmaceutical agreement, the Salzburger Gebietskrankenkasse (health insurance company) posted profits of EUR 4.4 million in 2010, which is attributable to price reductions in drugs which are subject to prescription of a head physician (pharmaceuticals for gastric protection, cardiovascular agents and nervous system medications) (cf. Medical Association of Salzburg 2011).

Chemistry and pharmaceuticals succeed in export market
The Austrian export volume for pharmaceutical products amounted to EUR 5,549 million in 2009 and to EUR 6,229 million in 2010 Euro. With chemical products the export volume of 2009 amounted to EUR 12,116 million and 2010: EUR 14,192 million. In 2010 the export quota for chemical products was at 58.2 percent resp. 82.9 percent for pharmaceutical products. In 2010 both sectors registered EUR 6,483 million generated from foreign sales (cf. Statistik Austria).

Reputation abroad

The pharmaceutical sector looks for the well-being and health of people. That´s why it has a positive image, although it is met with skepticism by the public (PMCA).

Austria has established a quite positive image in the field of alternative medicine, which is nurtured by domestic drugs (herbals, ointments, medicinal plants). However, small pharmaceutical firms are still facing insurmountable access barriers and decline stages due to still pronounced lobbying among physicians.

Additional sources: Fischer, Breitenbach: Die Pharmaindustrie ‒ Einblick ‒ Durchblick ‒ Perspektiven, Spectrum Akademischer Verlag GmbH, Heidelberg, HVSV (2011): Major Association of Social Insurance Carriers:,,,,
Editorial department: Mag. Markus Pellischek-Wilsdorf