GVR Report cover Europe Pharmaceutical Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Europe Pharmaceutical Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Branded, Generic), By Type (Prescription, OTC), By Therapeutic Category, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68038-357-7
  • Number of Pages: 190
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2017 - 2019
  • Industry: Healthcare

Report Overview

The Europe pharmaceutical market size was valued at USD 282.75 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate(CAGR)of 5.4% from 2021 to 2028. The growth can be attributed to the increasing healthcare expenditure, a surge in R&D investments, and the emergence of biologics and biosimilars. Furthermore, supportive regulatory framework and reimbursement policies improve the adoption of pharmaceuticals in this region, thus facilitating market growth. The impact of COVID-19 has been variable on the industry. It has adversely affected drug prescription and uptake rate owing to the decreased rate of diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer. For instance, the uptake of biologics and novel medicines witnessed a decline in 2020, which can be attributed to a decline in primary care drug prescriptions. The decline in drug sales is worsened by the shortage of drugs owing to disruptions in the supply chain.

Europe pharmaceutical market size, by therapeutic category, 2018 - 2028 (USD Billion)

Europe has key pharmaceutical companies, world-class research institutes, and hospitals that provide a better environment for developing clinical and therapeutic innovations for rare and life-threatening diseases. Cell and gene therapies and immunotherapies are the fastest-growing areas in terms of research & development activities, and these segments also received the highest investments to continue research activities. As per therapeutic areas, oncology and central nervous system disorders received the highest funding for developing novel therapies.

Technological advancements not only influence the development and discovery of drugs but various aspects of the supply chain as well. This includes features such as reducing manpower, increasing safety, and reducing the time that a product spends in the supply chain. The use of technologies, such as AI and robotics, can facilitate a reduction in resources spent on production as well as supply chain. Moreover, heightened focus on the supply chain during the pandemic has improved its overall strength.

The reimbursement scenario is highly variable and complicated in Europe, specifically for generic medications. Every country has published its own set of rules regarding reimbursement, which makes the penetration of generics uneven across the region. Countries with advanced healthcare systems offer the essential medication at low or no costs to the population, ensuring UHC, i.e., Universal Health Coverage. However, the financial burden on healthcare systems providing coverage is high.

The role of hospitals is evolving gradually in Europe as they form the largest part of its healthcare system. They have specialized healthcare systems, which are usually used by patients with chronic conditions of cancer. The healthcare system is looking at standardization. However, this move is opposed by German hospitals. The primary care system has improved in France, Germany, Finland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Belgium over the years, while in the U.K., Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Netherlands, and Norway, it has remained constant.

Product Insights

The branded segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 65.0% in 2020 owing to the presence of key drug manufacturers and clinical-based pharmaceutical companies in the region. Increasing R&D efforts, the growing adoption of novel therapies, and strategic collaborations are likely to boost the penetration of these drugs. Strong pipeline products in different therapeutic areas are likely to boost the growth of branded drugs in Europe. Key pharmaceutical companies are significantly investing in small clinical-based biopharmaceutical companies developing novel treatment options for prevalent chronic conditions. However, the emergence of generics and biosimilars has heralded a significant shift in the overall pharmaceutical market in Europe.

The generic segment is projected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. The presence of a large number of local and international generic drug manufacturers in the region makes the European market highly fragmented and competitive. Moreover, the shift in the preference of European countries’ governments from branded drugs to commodity generics is likely to increase their demand.

Therapeutic Category Insights

Oncology held the largest share of over 14.0% in 2020 and is expected to grow at the fastest rate over the forecast period. The increasing incidence of cancer, coupled with the growing geriatric population, is expected to positively impact the market growth. Furthermore, the constantly rising demand for high-quality drugs due to strengthened economies and improved healthcare infrastructure is estimated to boost the market growth over the forecast period.

The high growth of central nervous system therapeutics is mainly attributed to the rising prevalence of neurological conditions, favorable government initiatives, and increasing focus of key players to introduce novel and effective treatment options to address unmet needs in this space. In CNS therapeutics, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and psychotic disorders are major conditions that held a significant market share in 2020.

Type Insights

The prescription segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 85.0% in 2020. This is attributed to prescription medicines being covered under healthcare insurance in the European region for the majority of health conditions. For instance, the reimbursement rate of biologics and biosimilars is 100% in most European nations. The healthcare authorities of major countries are shifting focus from biologics to biosimilars owing to their cost-effectiveness.

Europe pharmaceutical market share, by type, 2020 (%)

The OTC segment is projected to expand at the fastest rate over the forecast period owing to the improved consumer knowledge regarding OTC products for minor ailments, such as vomiting and GERD. Moreover, the accessibility to OTC products is convenient owing to the presence of retail pharmacies that provide these pharmaceuticals without prescription. Digestive health is one of the top categories for uptake of OTC pharmaceuticals. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their external and internal health factors. More people are taking measures to ensure proper maintenance of their gastrointestinal health. Popular OTC products such as antacid liquids and tablets are witnessing an increased uptake. This surge in the digestive health segment reflects the interest of consumers in digestive health.

Regional Insights

Western Europe held the largest revenue share of over 80.0% in 2020 and is expected to maintain its lead over the forecast period. This is attributed to the multinational pharmaceutical companies significantly investing in Western Europe due to favorable regulatory environments and greater ability to produce high-value medicines. Moreover, overall, the Western European region has the largest patient base in the region, with significant diagnosis and treatment rates, which is expected to aid the market growth. 

The Central and Eastern Europe region is projected to exhibit a lucrative growth rate over the forecast period. Central Europe is more developed compared to Eastern Europe and most pharmaceutical companies have a strong presence in Central Europe. Countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Hungary have a large number of pharmaceutical companies that serve globally. Poland is the largest pharmaceutical market in the region and the country significantly invests in R&D, followed by Slovenia, Hungary, and Romania.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

Key pharmaceutical companies offer strong branded drugs in multiple therapeutic segments. Pricing of generic products is affected by significant consolidation and various commercial alliances between large buying groups. Pharmaceutical prices see excessive pressure in the Eastern and Central European regions, and the prices have dropped over time. Compared to West European nations, such as Germany, the prices in Poland and Hungary are significantly lower, which impacts the overall pharmaceutical industry and its manufacturers. Some prominent players in the Europe pharmaceutical market include:

  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

  • AstraZeneca plc

  • Novartis AG

  • Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.

  • Gilead Sciences, Inc.

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc.

  • Merck & Co., Inc.

  • Pfizer Inc.

  • Sanofi

  • Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH

 Europe Pharmaceutical Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 296.30 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 432.12 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 5.4% from 2021to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD billion and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Product, type, therapeutic category, region

Regional scope

Western Europe; Central & Eastern Europe; Nordic Regions; Rest of Europe

Country scope

U.K.; France; Germany; Italy; Spain; Poland; Hungary; Switzerland; Denmark; Finland; Norway

Key companies profiled

F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; AstraZeneca plc; Novartis AG; Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.; Gilead Sciences, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline plc.; Merck & Co., Inc.; Pfizer Inc.; Sanofi; Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the regional and country levelsand provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the Europe pharmaceutical market report on the basis of the product, type, therapeutic category, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)

    • Branded

    • Generic

  • Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)

    • OTC

    • Prescription

  • Therapeutic Category Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)

    • Oncology

    • Cardiovascular Diseases

    • Anti-infectives

    • Central Nervous System Disorders

    • Metabolic Disorders

    • Gastrointestinal Disorders

    • Respiratory Diseases

    • Other Disorders

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)

    • Western Europe

      • U.K.

      • France

      • Germany

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • Central & Eastern Europe

      • Poland

      • Hungary

      • Switzerland

    • Nordic Regions

      • Denmark

      • Finland

      • Norway

    • Rest of Europe

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