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Singapore’s pharmaceutical industry 'increasingly important' : Report

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The pharmaceutical industry is becoming an "increasingly important" component of Singapore's manufacturing sector, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said yesterday.

This is apparent from the growth in employment and fixed asset investments in the industry, in contrast to overall decreases in the manufacturing sector as a whole.

In 2018, Singapore exported US$7.49 billion (S$10.21 billion) worth of pharmaceuticals to leading destinations Switzerland, the Netherlands and Japan.

Singapore re-exports some of its imports which include pharmaceuticals.

Data from the Department of Statistics, Enterprise Singapore and Fitch Solutions showed that Singapore's pharmaceutical exports and imports had been rising steadily in the past three years.

Singapore is now one of the few countries in the world with a positive pharmaceutical trade balance.


But monthly pharmaceutical exports from Singapore can be volatile, subject to changes in manufacturing outputs from new batches of active ingredients coming online, or products losing their patent protection, leading to a fall in demand.

Quoting data from the Economic Development Board, Fitch said the number of people working for pharmaceutical companies rose to 7,356 in 2017, from 5,142 in 2011, and this contrasts with the overall decrease in employment seen in manufacturing.

Similarly, while the value of fixed asset investments fell for most industries, the pharmaceutical sector saw a total of $440 million invested in 2017, up from $197 million in 2012.

There are 55 pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in Singapore, a majority of which are foreign-owned and includes research and development-based companies. - THE STRAITS TIMES