Aschimfarma: an Italian leadership in the global pharmaceutical-chemical market

Aschimfarma, a branch of the Italian Chemical Industry Federation (Federchimica), is the Association of producers of pharmaceutical fine chemicals. These companies produce organic chemical substances obtained through high technological industrial processes, both in the development and production phases.

The following figures (2017) are enough to indicate how successful the whole Italian producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and intermediates are proving in the world market of which Italian sector accounts for a 9% share:

  • 3.6 billion € total turnover, of which 55% Aschimfarma
  • 81 manufacturers (mostly SME), of which 64% Aschimfarma
  • 10,500 employees, of which 78% Aschimfarma
  • 85% export for the companies Aschimfarma’s members


The market outlet is:

  • Production of intermediates and APIs for pharma sector, particularly generic drugs (65% of activity);
  • Custom synthesis (15%);
  • Custom manufacturing, mainly for big pharma industry (20%)


The incidence of Research & Development on the total turnover of the sector may be valued at approximately 3%. R & D is aimed mainly at process optimization, in relation above all, to the high cost of the investments required to identify and prepare new pharmaceutically effective APIs.

The efforts made in Research & Development have enabled the Italian industry in this sector to “consolidate” and even “improve” its position in time, pursuing diversified process technologies that make it possible to:

  • continue to maintain a leading position into the worldwide market as for overall quality production;
  • increase the proportion of sales represented by “custom synthesis”, to maintain a high level of profitability and compensate the  high competitiveness in the generic medicine sector.

All the initiatives of Aschimfarma aim to allow member firms to fight on equal terms with their international competitors. They would then be competing on the continually sustained quality of their output, rather than solely on price, so often the case with products coming from developing countries.


Italian turnover development of active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates (current value, billion Euro and USD)

Grafico 2 inglese