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

The pharmaceutical industry is an important player within the United Kingdom. In 2019, the annual turnover of pharmaceutical goods wholesalers in the UK was over 51 billion British pounds. The United Kingdom's pharmaceutical market is among the global top 10 national markets, holding some 2.5 percent of the global pharmaceutical sector.

Two flagship companies

Cambridge-based AstraZeneca and London-based GlaxoSmithKline are the two flagships of the British drug manufacturing industry. For several years, GlaxoSmithKline was the leading pharmaceutical company in the UK based on market capitalization. However, AstraZeneca received a significant boost on the market, not least because of developing the most used COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, together with a team at Oxford University. As of September 2021, AstraZeneca was reported to have a market capitalization of around 127 billion British pounds.

An important contributor

In 2019, there were almost 670 businesses in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and preparations in the UK. 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. The pharma sector is also a large contributor to the economy, providing employment for nearly 50 thousand people in pharmaceutical preparations and manufacturing alone.

Consumer spending and OTC

In 2019, consumers in the United Kingdom spent nearly 11 billion British pounds on pharmaceutical products. This was a nine percent increase in sales value compared to the previous year. The most valuable categories in the over-the-counter (OTC) market were pain relief, vitamins and minerals, and cough/cold remedies.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Pharmaceutical industry in the UK".


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