Ireland’s ever-growing pharma industry is attracting a lot of attention, both nationally and internationally, with the biggest companies in the world in this field located here.  

Ireland is a leading global centre for medical research and product development. With most of the big names already established and new start-ups emerging all the time, Ireland has developed an undeniable reputation as the global capital for pharmaceutical and medical technology firms. While the industry is changing all the time, the underlying strength of this sector is based on competitive tax advantages, education excellence, and access to an existing medical culture on the doorstep of Europe.

Why is Ireland is so attractive?

There’s no denying the fact that most pharma and medical technology firms are attracted to Ireland due to its competitive taxation environment. Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates anywhere in the world at just 12.5pc, which is a major incentive for emerging and established pharma companies. With one of the lowest statutory corporate tax rates in the world, Ireland continues to attract multinational companies in the medical field and beyond.

Along with general tax relief, many pharma companies also benefit from a 25pc tax credit on qualifying research and development. It’s not all about the money, however, with the attractive tax conditions of Ireland combined with a number of practical, political and cultural advantages. The geographical location of the Emerald Isle is a major draw card, with Ireland very close to mainland Europe and easy to access from the United States.

Over time as medical industries have been established in Ireland, infrastructure has grown, and relationships have developed between education and corporate entities. The industry is stable and growing all the time, with 24 of the 25 largest pharma firms in the world located in Ireland and a high number of pharma and medtech companies hiring across the Ireland.

Established pharma companies

Of the 25 largest pharma and medical technology companies in the world, only one does not have an office in Ireland – Celgene. While many of the biggest names are located in Dublin, there is a growing pharma and medical technology presence in many other Irish cities and towns.

Johnson & Johnson are the largest and most recognised name in the field, with a workforce of more than 125,000 people stretching across 60 nations. Other huge companies with a significant presence in Ireland include Roche, Pfizer, Novartis and MSD just to name a few. With so many large players in what is a relatively small country, there are many opportunities for employment and career development.

Emerging players

Along with big multinationals, there is an emerging pharma start-up scene in Dublin and across Ireland. Many small start-ups grow directly from university projects, with key ideas and personnel spinning out from breakthrough education projects. Exciting new players in the medical technology field include ATXA Therapeutics, Khonsu Therapeutics, Diaceutics, Genomics Medicine Ireland, Loci Orthopaedics, and many others. Start-ups provide a range of opportunities to new graduates and medical specialists looking to change or upgrade their career paths.

Education and employment opportunities

The link between education and employment is strong in Ireland, with the pharma industry benefiting greatly from access to world-class universities and high-quality students. At the doorstep of Europe and the United Kingdom, Ireland is one of the most sought-after economies and societies in the world. This open attitude carries through to education, with over 35,000 international students from over 160 countries choosing to study in Ireland.

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Published: 1 October, 2019

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