Photo: David Soanes /
14 March 2014Europe

“Patent cliff” blamed for contraction in Irish economy

A contraction of 0.3 percent in Ireland’s economy last year has been linked to the expiry of several key pharmaceutical patents.

The data, from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), showed that gross domestic product fell by 0.3 percent in 2013 after a decline of 2.3 percent in the last quarter of the year compared with the quarter before.

The CSO also reported a 3.3 percent decline in the industrial sector, which includes the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, and a €1.03 billion ($1.43 billion) decline in net exports.

Many multinational pharmaceutical companies choose to base their manufacturing plants in Ireland for its lower tax rate.

US company Eli Lilly has manufacturing facilities in Ireland; its blockbuster drugs Cymbalta and Humalog, which respectively sold $4.9 billion and $2.5 billion in their last full year of exclusivity, went off patent in 2013.

Pfizer, GSK and Teva also have manufacturing plants in the country, while Actavis moved its headquarters to Ireland when it bought Dublin-based Warner Chilcott last year.

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