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Pharmaceutical industry drives British research and innovation

25/04/2014 by


The UK pharmaceutical industry is one of the country’s major engines of research and innovation.

The industry spent £4.2 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2012, more than any other sector and around a quarter of the total business spend in that year, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Of the 68,000 people directly employed by the sector in the UK, 23,000 are employed in highly skilled R&D roles, according to figures from trade body the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

“The biggest contribution is how much the pharmaceutical industry spends on R&D, and the proportion of skilled workers employed is clearly a large part of that as the UK builds up a pipeline of medicines and future drugs,” said Lee Hopley, chief economist at the manufacturing trade body EEF.

As the government engages in a push for more exports, in a bid to re balance the UK economy away from its reliance on credit-fueled spending and financial services, the pharma industry is already a significant exporter to the European Union and beyond.

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