Global investment monitor fDi Markets reports that the global pharmaceutical sector has been steadily growing between January 2014 and December 2019.

In 2014, 212 pharmaceutical projects were recorded, with numbers increasing to 236 in 2016 and to 275 by 2018. Between 2018 and 2019, project numbers increased to 287, the highest figure since fDi Markets began recording data in 2003. Capital investment and the number of jobs created also increased during this time, by 15.78% and 12.44% respectively. 

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The key source market for pharmaceutical investment during this period was western Europe, which accounted for 43.37% of FDI projects, followed by North America (28.32%) and Asia-Pacific (19.93%).

Western Europe also received the bulk of the investment, winning more than a third (36.12%) of all global pharmaceutical investments during the six-year period. The UK was the primary recipient, attracting 22.12% of FDI projects, followed by Germany 17.37% and France 11.7%.

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline was the largest investing company, putting $1.91bn into 34 projects and creating a total 4088 new jobs between 2014 and 2019. AstraZeneca, another UK-based pharmaceutical giant, recorded the second highest number of projects in this period, at 24, while Germany-based Merck and US-based Pfizer ranked joint third, each investing in 22 pharmaceutical projects globally. 

Since data is only available for January 2020, it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue, and what effect the coronavirus pandemic will have on the sector.