The pharmaceutical industry is a $1 trillion-dollar sector and has been a major engine of economic growth and scientific advancement for decades. The industry encompasses a wide range of enterprises including large ethical drug multi-nationals (so-called Big Pharma), mid-sized specialty pharmaceutical companies, generic manufacturers, virtual pharmas, small biotechnology and biopharmaceutical firms, and all the various ancillary support and service companies that provide contract research, regulatory guidance, contract sales, and manufacturing technologies and raw materials.
Although growth has not been as robust in recent years—mainly due to price pressures, uncertainty in regulatory/reform measures, and weak drug pipelines— the demographic and structural drivers of demand in healthcare still exist: namely, the continued aging of the global population and the increasing sophistication and wealth of developing nations. Shifting epidemiology patterns and outbreaks, along with new challenges in chronic disease, cancer, heart disease, and degenerative disease will continue to impel the need for ever-better medicines. New understanding and technologies in drug delivery, and most especially in the fields of genomics, proteomics, and molecular biology generally, also hold promise for better therapeutics and a revival of profits.