According to the official international trade statistics, pharmaceutical goods export developments in Italy and its main exporting region, Lazio, were very favourable in 2019. This study investigates the determinants of these dynamics, employing a variety of data sources, including goods export series broken down by economic sector sourced from the national accounts and information drawn from the Bank of Italy's Survey of Industrial and Service Firms.
Italy's pharmaceutical export dynamics benefited from the recent investments undertaken by a number of firms in the sector in Lazio. A statistical factor, linked to the growing presence of contract manufacturing, in particular of transactions that do not imply a change in the ownership of a good between the foreign contractee and the contractor in Italy ('processing'), also contributed to these developments. The positive contribution of the sector to total goods export growth in Italy is smaller when measured based on national account data, which do not include the value of processed products, as opposed to international trade statistics.