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The pharmaceutical industry operates both as an important business sector and a vital contributor to the delivery of health services worldwide. In 2012, the total world market for pharmaceutical products amounted to nearly US$1 trillion. Although global in scope, some 60 percent of sales were in North America and Europe, which comprise only 15 percent of the world’s population. The industry plays an important economic role in many countries by contributing to national income and employing hundreds of thousands of educated workers. Studies in the United States and Germany have found that for each direct employee, the pharmaceutical industry also generates between 1.6 and 3.5 jobs in supporting industries. While Germany long boasted of its role as the “world’s apothecary”, firms in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States also have underwritten decades of research into new medicines and brought several thousand new medicines to market since the late 19th century.
Oehlrich, M. & Daemmrich, A. (2012). Legal and political competitiveness for pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals Policy and Law, 15. 93–97.