Pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

The pharmaceutical industry is an important player within the United Kingdom. In 2017, the annual turnover of pharmaceutical goods wholesalers in the UK was over 42 billion British pounds, while the gross revenue from the retail sales of pharmaceutical products amounted to almost five billion British pounds in 2015. The net capital expenditure in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical goods came up to over one billion in 2017.

GlaxoSmithKline was the leading pharmaceutical company in the UK in 2015, with a market value of over 75 billion British pounds, followed by AstraZeneca which was worth almost 58.5 billion British pounds. The number of wholesalers of pharmacological goods in the United Kingdom has generally increased year-on-year and amounted to approximately 2.8 thousand enterprises in 2017. In the same year, there were 637 businesses in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and preparations in the UK. Additionally, the number of pharmacists in the UK was approximately 66 thousand in 2018. Innovation is a huge part and requirement of the pharmaceutical industry, and as such research and development as a percentage of sales in pharmaceutical manufacturing was worth almost 40 percent.

In 2017, consumers in the United Kingdom spent over 5.7 billion British pounds on medicinal products. The most valuable over-the-counter (OTC) medicine category in 2017/18 was for pain relief, with a sales value of over 566 million British pounds. This is an almost 5 percent growth increase in sales from the previous year. The second most valuable medicinal category was for coughs, colds and sore throats at 460 million British pounds, this represented a 7 percent growth in sales value from the preceding year.

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