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ABPI - The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Facts & Statistics from the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry in Britain has an impressive reputation based on a long history of achievement. On average, it takes around 10 to 12 years and £550 million to develop a new medicine, with no guarantee that a medicine will go on to be a commercial success. The international renown of the sector relies on a solid science base, dedicated researchers and notable business strengths that match the very best in the world. Major new advances in treatment developed in British laboratories offer entirely new opportunities to treat disease and ill health and benefit patients all over the world This section of our website gives you a selected range of statistics about the pharmaceutical industry, both in the United Kingdom and overseas.

The following charts and statistics give an overview of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and in the wider world. As more recent information becomes available, the data will be revised and updated.

Section 1 - A global industry

1. World trade in pharmaceuticals, 2007
2. Annual medicines expenditure per person, 2008
3. Spend on medicines as a percentage of GDP in various countries, 2007
4. Top world pharmaceutical corporations, 2007
5. Sales share of the world's top 100 prescription medicines 2007
6. Market share of medicines launched in last 5 years - 2007
7. UK Pharmaceutical & Retail Price Indices

Section 2 - Pharmaceuticals and the UK economy

8. UK Pharmaceutical trade
9. Trade surplus rankings for 16 major UK industry sectors
10. Employment in the UK pharmaceutical industry
11. Value added by sector, 2007
12. Leading pharmaceutical corporations' UK market share, 2007
13. Top pharmaceutical products in the UK, 2007

Section 3 - Research and Development

14. Pharmaceutical R&D; expenditure in the UK
15. R&D; as a percentage of sales in some UK manufacturing industry sectors

Section 4 - Medicines and the NHS

16. NHS expenditure per person in the UK
17. Community prescribing in the UK
18. Daily Expenditure 2006/07
19. Cost of prescriptions dispensed in various disease areas, UK, millions
20. Number of prescriptions dispensed in various disease areas, UK, 1995-2005 per million prescriptions

The following sections give more details about the pharmaceutical industry, but some of the most important facts about its contributions to the health and wealth of the people of the United Kingdom are set out below.

Medicines for a healthy future

Value for money

  • The pharmaceutical industry provides the nation's medicines to the NHS at a daily cost of just 47 pence per person
  • Medicines account for only around 10 per cent of total NHS costs, despite a constant growth every year in the number of prescriptions issued
  • Modern medicines offer real value for money - in real terms, medicines prices are around 24 per cent lower than 10 years ago.
  • The annual cost of medicines prescribed by GPs in Britain is about £195 per person - much less than the cost in France, Germany, Japan or the USA
  • Sales to the NHS in 2007 were £10.3 billion. ABPI member companies supply more than 80 per cent of the medicines prescribed on the NHS

The economics of success

  • The industry invested more than £3.9 billion in UK research and development in 2007 - more than £10 million every day
  • Pharmaceutical companies carry out more than a quarter of all industrial research and development in the UK, and spend more than 20 per cent of their gross output on R&D
  • Around 20 per cent of the world's top medicines were discovered and developed in Britain
  • A fifth of the top 25 medicines prescribed by GPs on the NHS are British
  • Pharmaceutical industry exports in 2007 were £14.6 billion, creating a trade surplus of £4.3 billion
  • The industry employs around 72,000 people and generates another 250,000 jobs in related industries
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