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Spain: a review into the Iberian pharma market(1)



UBM EMEA, de Entreé 73, Toren A,

1101 BH, Amsterdam, Netherlands


This article reviews the Spanish pharmaceutical market. The Iberian pharma economy is still recovering from the economic crisis, and faces many challenges in facilitating growth and development. The prime challenge for Spain is the price referencing system, and the fact that 90% of the market depends on the government for funding and support. Nevertheless, growth opportunities are now proliferating in the areas of biotechnology, APIs, generics and international exports. The review concludes that the country is well placed for near and medium term growth and has the potential to emerge as a key player in the global pharmaceutical manufacturing market.


Spain is the fifth largest European pharma economy (2), accounting for 1.4% of the country’s total GDP. However, unusually, the Spanish territory is divided into autonomous communities, with local authorities dictating their own health policies and reimbursement schemes. Centred around the dual pharma hubs in Catalonia and Madrid, the Spanish industry has traditionally housed big pharma within Madrid. But in the last ten years, Barcelona and Catalonia have increasingly seen the development of Spanish international players such as Almirall, Ferrer, and Grifols, and the area is now a biotech and R&D hub.


Following the impact of “la crisis”, the Spanish sector shrunk by one third in the