By Donagh Fitzgerald and Claire Wilson. Last Updated: April 2022

Ireland has a world-renowned reputation for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing and currently hosts 9 of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies and 18 of the top 25 Medtech companies based on annual sales and revenue. However, we wanted to see which of these companies contributes most to Ireland in terms of the number of people employed.

Here is a list of the top 10 pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Ireland based on the total number of employees.

10) Lilly – 2,000
9) Abbvie – 2,600
8) MSD – 2,800
7) Almac – 3,000
6) Stryker -3,500
5) Medtronic – 4,000
4) Pfizer – 4,050
3) Abbott – 5,000
2) Johnson and Johnson – 5,050
1) Boston Scientific – 5,700

BTW, if you are interested in a new career in the pharmaceutical or medical device industry or want to upskill for a better job or a promotion? Check out our range of AWARD-WINNING pharmaceutical courses.

Lilly Logo

10. Lilly

Area/Products: Pharmaceuticals

Estimated Number of Employees: 2,000

Brief history: Lilly was founded in 1876 in the USA. Lilly currently markets products in multiple disease areas including cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, depression and many more. Their products are available in over 135 countries around the world, and they employ 34,914 people globally. Its revenue in 2021 totalled over $28.30 billion.

Presence in Ireland: Lilly established manufacturing in Ireland with a site in Kinsale in West Cork in 1978. This site produces active pharmaceutical ingredients for products across the Lilly portfolio in three main areas: small molecule API manufacture and supply; small molecule commercialization; biopharmaceutical commercialization and supply. In addition, Lilly established its Global Business Solutions (GBS) centre in Little Island, Cork City which focuses on finance, supply chain, HR data management, customer support, clinical trial management and more.

More recently Lilly announce that it was investing €400 million in a new manufacturing plant to create 300 jobs in Limerick.

Click here to see the vacancies Lilly currently has in Ireland

Abbvie Logo

9. Abbvie

Area/Products: Pharmaceuticals

Estimated Number of Employees: 2,600

Brief history: AbbVie is an American biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 when Abbott Laboratories announced its plan to separate into two publicly traded companies. It was decided that the “new” Abbott Laboratories would specialize in diversified products including medical devices, diagnostic equipment and nutrition products, while AbbVie would operate as a research-based pharmaceutical manufacturer that specialises in making small molecule drugs for patients worldwide. Abbvie completed its acquisition of Allergan in 2020 which helped boost its revenue from $33.2 billion in 2019 to $56.2 billion in 2021.

Presence in Ireland: AbbVie now employs almost 2,600 people across nine sites in Ireland. Alongside six manufacturing facilities in Cork, Dublin, Sligo, Galway and Mayo, three offices in Dublin serve the needs of the company’s Commercial, Supply Chain and Operations activities.

Click here to see the vacancies Abbvie currently has in Ireland

MSD Logo

8. MSD

Area/Products: Healthcare company

Estimated Number of Employees: 2,800

Brief history: MSD is the world’s seventh-largest pharmaceutical company with operations in over 140 countries. They produce a wide range of products including vaccines and prescription medications for diseases including diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C, oncology, and osteoporosis. Its total revenue in 2021 was  $48.74 billion with $42.74 billion coming from pharmaceutical drug sales.

Presence in Ireland: MSD began production in Ireland in 1976. Today, MSD employs over 2,800 across six sites. It has five manufacturing sites in Ballydine, Co. Tipperary, Brinny, Co. Cork, Carlow Town Co Carlow, Dunboyne, Co. Meath and Dublin.  Its commercial head office for its animal health and human health businesses in addition to several global and national support services including clinical research, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, sales, policy & communications and marketing is located at Red Oak North in Dublin.

Click here to see the vacancies MSD currently has in Ireland

Almac Logo

7. Almac

Area/Products: Contract Development and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Estimated Number of Employees: 3,000

Brief history:  Almac is a contract development and manufacturing company providing an extensive range of services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1968 and employs 6,000 worldwide. Almac’s sales revenue in 2021 was $888 million.

Presence in Ireland: Almac has sites based in Armagh, Louth and Westmeath.

Click here to see the vacancies Almac currently has in Ireland

Stryker Logo

6. Stryker

Area/Products: Medical devices

Estimated Number of Employees: 3,500

Brief history: Founded by an orthopaedic surgeon in the U.S in 1941, Dr Stryker was aiming to make products that met his patients’ healthcare needs. Stryker continues in the field of medical technology with a focus on surgical devices and is now one of the biggest such companies in the world. Its total revenue in 2021 was $17.1 billion and it currently employs over 46,000 people worldwide.

Presence in Ireland: Stryker has six sites located across Ireland. It has three manufacturing facilities in Cork, one in Limerick plus a manufacturing site in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The three plants in Cork manufacture, neurovascular catheters and coils, cutting accessories, blades & burs and orthopaedic hips employing over 2,200 people while their site in Limerick manufactures orthopaedic knees and bone cement and is home to over 770 employees. It also has an R&D Innovation Centre and a new Stryker Anngrove facility in Cork which is solely dedicated to 3D printing.

Click here to see the vacancies Stryker currently has in Ireland

Medtronic logo

5. Medtronic

Area/Products: Medical devices

Estimated Number of Employees: 4,000

Brief history: Medtronic began as a medical supply repair shop in the US in 1949, and their first commercial product was a battery-powered, wearable pacemaker. From then on, they have focussed on technology as a means of improving treatment.

In 2014, Medtronic bought Irish company Covidien to further expand their scope and they are now the top medical device company in the world. Globally, Medtronic employs over 90,000 people in over 150 countries.

Presence in Ireland: Medtronic moved into Ireland in 1999 and employs more than 4,000 people across 5 sites in Galway, Athlone and Dublin. Galway is home to two sites at Mervue and Parkmore with over 2,000 people employed across both these sites. The third site is a former Covidien manufacturing site in Westmeath – employing over 500 people. Medtronic’s headquarters and principal executive offices are located in Dublin with the Customer Contact Centre in City West housing customer services, sales and marketing functions.

Click here to see the vacancies Medtronic currently has in Ireland

Pfizer Logo

4. Pfizer

Area/Products: Pharmaceuticals

Estimated Number of Employees: 4,050

Brief history: Pfizer was first established in 1849 as a fine-chemicals business in New York and has grown to become the world’s biggest biopharmaceutical company through both pipeline development and acquisition. Pfizer has treatments in many prominent disease areas and therapies in most high-growth markets. In 2021, Pfizer’s revenue was reported as $81.3 billion, making it the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing company in the world.

Presence in Ireland: Pfizer was one of the first pharmaceutical companies to move into Ireland, in 1969. Its total capital investment in Ireland exceeds $8 billion. Pfizer currently employs approximately 4,000 people across five sites in Cork, Dublin, and Kildare. Their manufacturing operations include active pharmaceutical ingredients, solid dose pharmaceuticals, sterile injectables, vaccines and biopharmaceuticals and the BioNTech Pfizer covid 19 vaccine, Comirnaty with accounted for over $37 billion in revenue in 2021.

Click here to see the vacancies Pfizer currently has in Ireland

Abbott logo

3. Abbott

Area/Products: Diagnostics, medical devices, generic pharmaceuticals and nutritionals.

Estimated Number of Employees: 5,000

Brief history: Abbott worldwide was founded in 1888. Globally, Abbott currently employs 1070,000 people, with a customer base across over 130 countries and global sales in 2021 of $19.95 billion. Abbott works in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of a range of products. Their portfolio spans the breadth of healthcare including medical devices, diagnostics, branded generic pharmaceuticals, and nutritionals.

Presence in Ireland: Abbott has had a presence in Ireland since 1946. Today they employ almost 5,000 people across 10 Irish locations including manufacturing sites in Cavan, Donegal, Longford, Sligo, Kilkenny(under construc