Israel's pharmaceutical exports fell 50% in the third quarter of 2013 from the previous quarter, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The export of medicines, most of which are manufactured by Teva, totaled $995 million in the third quarter compared to $1.95 billion in the preceding quarter.
The drop in pharmaceutical exports led to a 20% drop in high-tech exports in the third quarter (as medicines are included in the high-tech category), totaling $4.5 billion.
The second quarter of 2013 saw a 17% drop in pharmaceutical exports compared to the same period in 2012, after the first quarter of the year recorded a sharp rise of 34%. Since the beginning of the year (January through September), however, there has been a 16% drop in dollars in pharmaceutical exports.
According to Ramzi Gabbay, chairman of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI), "These are troubling figures, which point to increasing difficulties in dealing with the conditions and changes in the international market.
"Big companies' share in exports has reached a critical mass in recent years. The development of a crisis in one of these companies could lead to additional shocks in exports and reflect on the economy," he warned.