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NAM Study: U.S. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Strength Requires Commitment to R&D, Innovative Regulatory Environment

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers released a new study, “Creating Cures, Saving Lives,” which demonstrates the urgency of strengthening U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturing amid policy threats to the sector’s innovative, global leadership.

“Creating Cures, Saving Lives” analyzes the sector’s contributions to the broader economy and its commitment to R&D that drives the development of lifesaving treatments, such as advancements in therapeutics that fight cancer. The study further examines the ways that federal price controls on the sector, such as those contained in the Inflation Reduction Act, could jeopardize these treatments. The study comes at a critical time, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced the first tranche of treatments that will be subject to price controls.

“Pharmaceutical manufacturers are a major contributor to the U.S. economy, employ millions of Americans and drive innovation. The industry’s investments in R&D have led to lifesaving treatments and therapies that have improved the quality of life for all Americans,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “This study explores the negative implications of price control policies on pharmaceutical leadership, putting American jobs and innovation in the health care system at risk.”

“Creating Cures, Saving Lives” includes seven key findings on the importance of the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industry and the implications of price controls on the sector:

  • The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy, and its impact is growing.
    • The industry accounted for $355 billion in value-added output to the U.S. economy in 2021. The direct contribution from the industry of $192 billion is up 24% from just two years ago. The pharmaceutical sector was already an economically vital sector before the pandemic, and it has become increasingly more important in its aftermath.
  • The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry fuels other sectors of the economy, supporting nearly 1.5 million jobs in America.
    • The industry directly employs an estimated 291,000 workers in the United States, an increase of nearly 9% in the past 24 months. One job in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry helps support 4.1 other jobs in the overall workforce.
  • Industry employees are highly productive.
    • Industry employees produce $1.2 million in output per employee. This is nearly six times more than the U.S. economy’s average output per employee ($208,084).
  • A successful pharmaceutical ecosystem requires strong private-sector investment.
    • The pharmaceutical industry invests 16.6% of its sales back into R&D. Indeed, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry invests nearly 3.5 times more in R&D as a percentage of sales than the average U.S. industry.
  • The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry pays high wages and benefits to American workers.
    • Annual average labor income per worker in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is more than $184,000. This figure is higher than some of the highest-paying industries in the country.
  • The industry creates valuable STEM jobs.
    • While roughly 6.6% of the U.S. workforce has a STEM occupation, some 25% of all jobs in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing are STEM-related. The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector employs more than four times the percentage of STEM workers employed in the overall workforce.
  • Price control policies, like those in the IRA, may hurt U.S. pharmaceutical leadership.
    • Price controls may deter advancements in health care by reducing investments in R&D, negatively impacting the nation’s economic prosperity.


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.91 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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