What is the best ERP for pharmaceuticals? Best Pharma ERP Systems 2023

As pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies grow organically or via acquisition or transition from research and drug ...

As pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies grow organically or via acquisition or transition from research and drug approval to commercialization, complexities can lead to operational inefficiencies and compliance problems that cause business leaders to ask several questions including:

What is the best ERP solution for pharma?

What is the best ERP for biotech?

What is the best ERP for pharmaceutical manufacturing?

How much does ERP for pharma cost?

In this article we will cover the most important enterprise resource planning modules and requirements for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and discuss some of the best ERP solutions for the pharma and biotechnology industry. We'll compare popular ERP solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, including the likes of SAP, Microsoft, Netsuite, Oracle and more.

If you'd like to evaluate ERP vendors for pharmaceuticals or pharma manufacturing, then you can also use our free pharma ERP requirements template below. 

pharma erp requirements free template


Best ERP Systems for Pharmaceuticals

SME Pharmaceutical ERP Systems

Hypergrowth & Large Pharmaceutical ERP Systems

ERP Modules for Pharmaceuticals

How to choose ERP software for your pharmaceutical company

How to choose a pharma ERP implementation partner

How much does a pharmaceutical ERP system cost?


Best ERP Systems for Pharmaceuticals

So which are some of the best pharma ERP systems? We have ranked the market-leading ERP systems for pharma across two categories: SMB & large/hypergrowth companies. The pharmaceutical manufacturing ERP solutions are ranked based on the scalability, functionality and reference customers available.

Read our free, in depth, Top 10 ERP systems for Pharma Report below:

top 10 pharma biotechnology pharmaceutical erp software

Let's see which enterprise resource planning solutions are used by different sizes of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies:

Small & Medium-Sized (SME) Pharmaceutical ERP 

Which are the best enterprise resource planning systems for small and mid-market pharma companies?

#1 SAP Business ByDesign | $$$$$

SAP Business ByDesign Quotation

SAP Business ByDesign has proven to be popular with early-stage or midsize companies in the pharmaceuticals space including fast-growing biotechnology companies, generics manufacturers and more. The solution is only offered as a Software-as-a-Service ERP, however, updates can be controlled and validation is provided through several third-party organizations. Although SAP is often known for large, complex, enterprise-grade implementations, SAP Business ByDesign is a Cloud ERP solution for small and medium sized pharmaceutical organizations as well as those involved in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Download the full SAP Business ByDesign Guide


#2 Oracle Netsuite | $$$$$


Oracle Netsuite is a common choice for small and medium pharmaceutical companies growing quickly. The solution has been chosen by pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device manufacturers in growth mode. Netsuite caters to integrated financials, supply chain, inventory, quality and manufacturing in a software as a service, Cloud ERP package.

Netsuite ERP has been used by many startup life sciences companies that are in R&D phase and they use the solution for financials, project management and inventory management.

Download the full Oracle Netsuite Guide


#3 Infor CloudSuite Industrial (CSI) | $$$$$


Infor CloudSuite Industrial, formally known as Infor Syteline boasts strong capabilities for pharmaceutical companies in the SMB & SME space with integrated functionality catering for pharmaceutical specific processes including computer systems validation and compliance. This ERP solution is used widely by pharmaceutical manufacturers around the world.

Download the full Infor CSI Guide


Large & Hypergrowth Pharmaceutical ERP

Which are the best enterprise resource planning systems for large, established or hypergrowth pharmaceutical companies?

#1 SAP S/4 HANA | $$$$$

SAP-Business-One-User-Interface (UI)

SAP S/4 HANA is one of the most popular ERP systems in the pharmaceutical industry, catering to midsized and larger organizations that require one platform for multiple business functions. This ERP system offers many of the key capabilities required by pharma companies including manufacturing, traceability, quality management plus supply chain planning, analytics and rock-solid financial capabilities.

The solution comes in several deployments, allowing for flexibility whether you want to deploy On-Premise or in Public or Private Clouds. Many SAP implementation partners also specialize in pharmaceuticals and offer implementation packages prebuilt for different pharmaceutical niches offering end-to-end business process capabilities.

Download the full SAP S/4 HANA Guide


#2 Microsoft Dynamics 365 | $$$$$


Microsoft Dynamics 365 is used by some larger pharmaceutical organizations due to its broad partner ecosystem, many of whom have designed specific packages for pharmaceutical enterprise resource planning. For pharmaceutical manufacturers, Dynamics provides IoT capabilities to optimize the entire manufacturing process for pharma.

Download the full Microsoft Dynamics Guide


#3 Oracle ERP Cloud | $$$$$

oracle erp 2-1

Oracle ERP Cloud is the flagship ERP solution from the American software vendor, Oracle Corporation. The ERP platform is used by pharmaceutical companies, typically with lighter or few supply chain and manufacturing processes.

Download the full Oracle ERP Cloud Guide


ERP Modules for Pharma & Biotech

What enterprise resource planning modules & capabilities are often needed by pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies?

This will depend largely on how your pharmaceutical or biotechnology company is structured and which industry sub-division you operate within. For example, for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies specialized in manufacturing, supply chain, production, regulatory and quality capabilities will be key when considering modules. 

Here are some of the key capabilities included in pharma ERP systems that we commonly see pharmaceutical and biotech companies evaluating:

Finance & Accounting

Financial management is at the core of every ERP solution and the same applies when considering ERP for pharmaceuticals. For many pharmaceutical companies, operating globally and across multiple legal entities with inter-company trading and financial consolidation is a key requirement. 

Modern ERP solutions for the pharmaceutical industry provide multiple localizations to enable global trade and cater for inter-company transactions and trading to reduce errors and free up time. 

Inventory Management

Pharmaceutical companies need tight inventory management functionality within their ERP system to be able to get real-time insight into their stock availability and to perform stock valuations on the fly. With many pharmaceutical companies operating in multiple geographies and locations or selling on consignment, they also need to be able to track stock across multiple real and virtual warehouses.

ERP solutions for the pharmaceutical industry enable

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Production

Whether your pharmaceutical company is manufacturing generics, performing contract manufacturing for other pharmaceutical IP owners or operates in the medical devices space, having robust manufacturing capabilities within your ERP system is key to operating an efficient organization. 

Modern pharmaceutical ERP systems offer robust capabilities for work order creation, bills of materials and manufacturing resource planning and more to make your manufacturing processes slicker. 

Supply Chain

Managing your supply chain is much easier with an ERP system designed for the pharmaceutical industry. By integrating sales,  manufacturing, procurement or purchasing plus historical data, pharmaceuticals companies can make their supply chain more efficient and robust with enterprise resource planning software.


Procurement in the pharmaceutical space requires tight control for both cost efficiencies and compliance. Traceability of ingredients and materials is key, as is ensuring you source products from reputable suppliers with vetted supply chains. 

Enterprise resource planning allows for integration between supply chain planning, manufacturing, sales and finance plus allows you to procure in an efficient and compliant way.

Quality Management

Quality management is a crucial aspect of enterprise resource planning in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Pharmaceutical companies need to be able to trace their products closely in the event of product recalls using batch traceability functionality within their ERP system. 

Pharma and ERP systems enable you to systematically action quality management checks and processes whilst taking advantage of integrated traceability functions. In the event of product recalls or product defects, pharmaceutical companies can efficiently action them by using the data within their ERP system.

Computer Systems Validation & GxP

No ERP system for pharmaceuticals will offer GxP validation out of the box. Achieving GxP and CSV means robust end-to-end processes that are validated from both a systems and human process perspective. 

Still,  many ERP systems will make validation easier and many ERP partners offer additional validation services directly or through third parties in order to make life easier.

Sales & Customer Relationship Management

Many pharmaceutical companies sell their products in different ways. Some via distributors, some direct to healthcare companies and professionals and even via eCommerce portals to reduce the operational burden of repetitive tasks on their sales teams and administration.

ERP solutions for the pharmaceutical industry cater towards multichannel sales and allow for pharmaceutical companies to sell their products through a variety of mediums whilst synchronizing demand with production and forecasting simultaneously.


Get a 1-2-1 Pharmaceutical ERP Recommendation

121 ERP Comparison

How to choose ERP software for your Pharmaceutical company?

This can be a lengthy topic, but in short: make sure you build a business case, build your list of ERP & business requirements (feel free to use our handy pharmaceutical ERP requirements template).

pharma erp requirements free template

During this process, either look at the market or schedule a call with one of our team to help you shortlist 3-4 pharmaceutical ERP vendors. Then at your leisure, decide which one best meets your small business culture, requirements and ambitions.

Once you have built your requirements list and shortlisted small business ERP vendors, you can then schedule demonstrations and calls with vendors to begin the review process. Most small businesses we work with tend to shortlist 4-6 vendors initially and will see 1-2 product demonstrations with those vendors before they shortlist down to 2-3 ERP solutions. 

Typically, pharmaceutical business leaders will then request detailed scoping and commercials for their final shortlist before deciding amongst a panel which ERP solution best fits their business needs.

Choosing the best Pharma & Biotechnology ERP Implementation Partner

Due to the fact that the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are heavily regulated and controlled, implementing an ERP solution properly is crucial to avoiding a failed ERP project. 

Special attention needs to be paid during your ERP project to critical areas including validation as well as critical ERP modules and the way they are implemented including quality management, supply chain, traceability and manufacturing. 

Needless to say, it's ill-advised to select an ERP implementation partner with little or no experience in the industry who has delivered similiar ERP projects with other CMO's, pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers and biotechnology companies. 

How much does a Pharmaceutical or Biotech ERP solution cost?

The cost of implementing and purchasing licenses for an ERP solution in the pharmaceutical industry can range from $150,000 to several millions of dollars. The price of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry ERP solutions largely depend on your business, processes, complexity and scale. For example, it is much cheaper to implement a pharmaceutical ERP solution for a small pharma company with one office location versus a global multinational pharmaceutical company with manufacturing, quality and integrations to LIMS and other critical business applications.

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