The vital U.S. pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing industry has worldwide notoriety through research and development on new drugs. Research and development is the primary activity of most drug manufacturing companies. Generic pharmaceutical companies use fewer resources for research and development and devote more to drug manufacturing. Advances in biotechnology are continually changing drug discovery and development. Bioinformatics a segment of biotechnology, is a dynamic new field in the drug industry. Those in bioinformatics utilize information technologies to work with biological data such as DNA.
Pharmaceutical companies import drugs from foreign manufacturing facilities of U.S. companies as well as from foreign companies. Also, traditional drug manufacturing companies often obtain new drugs from smaller research firms. Besides patent drugs, many pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing companies produce over-the-counter medications, personal care products or dietary supplements.
Pharmacy Employment - Employer Reviews
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- The U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturing industry has about 1,500 companies with a combined annual revenue of approximately $200 billion (Hoovers)
- Exports of drugs account for approximately 20 percent of production (Hoovers)
- Imports from foreign-based U.S. facilities and foreign drug companies account for approximately one-third of the market
- The industry claims, on average, discovering and developing a new drug takes from 10 to 15 years and cost over $1 billion (Hoovers)
- Just 1 in every 5,000 to 10,000 compounds screened becomes an approved drug (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS))
Pharmaceutical and Drug Manufacturing Industry Employment Background
Scientists, engineers and technicians perform research to develop new drugs. Some of these employees are involved in improving environmental and quality control and streamlining production methods. Most of the scientists are medical and biological scientists who often use biotechnology, recombining the genetic materials of animals or plants to produce new drugs. Physical scientists, especially chemists, play an important role in the development of new drugs. Scientific technicians, including chemical and biological, play an important role in the research and development of new medicines.
Fabricators and assemblers are among the largest of the production occupations. Other production workers specialize in one part of the production process. The pharmaceutical industry also includes administrative support workers, sales representatives, managers and others.
Pharmaceutical and Drug Manufacturing Industry Employment Statistics
- The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry consists of more than 2,500 places of employment, situated throughout the United States
- In 2008, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies provided 289,800 jobs
- Over 50 percent of the jobs are located in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and New York
- Jobs in professional and related occupations, mostly scientists and science technicians, account for approximately 31 percent of all jobs in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry
- Jobs in production occupations, including high skilled and low skilled jobs, account for approximately 27 percent of the jobs
- Professional and related occupations accounted for 31.4 of the jobs in 2008
- In 2008, management, business and financial occupations comprised 17.9 of the jobs
- In 2008 production workers accounted for 27.5 of the employees
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees working in research and development establishments which are not part of the manufacturing facility are not included in the BLS employment data for the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry.
Pharmaceutical and Drug Manufacturing Industry Employment Outlook
The Bureau of Labor statistics forecasts a 6 percent employment growth for pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing jobs from 2008 to 2018, compared to the 11 percent forecasted for all industries combined. Ongoing research and the manufacturing of new products to combat a variety of diseases will continue to add jobs in the pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects strong demand for professional occupations, particularly for life and physical scientists involved in research and development. Other occupations expected to be in demand are computer specialists such as biostatisticians, systems analysts and computer specialists needed for rapidly developing fields such as nanotechnology and bioinformatics.
The BLS also expects steady demand for production workers and excepts the employment growth of office and administrative support workers to grow more slowly than the industry as a whole. The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry is not highly sensitive to changing economic conditions.