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Pharmaceutical industry

Research guide

Published: 11 Mar 2019 Updated: 13 Sep 2022 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Useful links

2022 global life sciences outlook
Annual report from Deloitte looking at issues driving change in the global life sciences sector.

The future of healthcare
Document published in 2017 by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABIP) exploring the future of healthcare. It highlights innovations in areas including genomics, healthcare data and technology. Challenges facing the industry are also discussed.


The impact of Brexit on the UK life sciences and pharmaceutical sector
White paper published by Woodley BioReg on the impact of Brexit on the UK life sciences sector. Based on a survey carried out between November 2021 and February 2022 on a cross-section of companies in the UK life sciences sector.

Going it alone: health and Brexit in the UK
Report published by Nuffield Trust which considers the impact of leaving the EU and changing international relations for health. Looks at what has already happened and at what the NHS, government and business figures expect in future. Areas covered: medicines and devices, international trade agreements, devolution, procurement, workforce, and Northern Ireland. Published in December 2021.

Beyond Brexit: food, environment, energy and health
House of Lords select committee report on what the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) means for food trade, fisheries, environment and climate change, energy and carbon pricing, chemicals and health. Published 23 March 2021.

Public Health and Economic Implications of the United Kingdom Exiting the EU and the Single Market
Detailed impact assessment from the Office of Health Economics on the consequences of Brexit on public health in the UK and in the EU. It also provides an estimate of the economic impact for pharmaceutical companies under different scenarios. Published December 2017.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

Business Monitor International
Listing of reports on the pharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticals industry internationally with the option to view a contents listing for each report.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the consumer health market from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors. Topics include basic pharmaceutical product manufacturing; pharmaceutical preparations manufacturing; pharmaceutical wholesaling; and dispensing chemists. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

A full listing of reports covering the OTC pharmaceuticals industry with the option to view the executive summary and a table of contents for each report.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABIP)

The ABIP publishes a range of facts, figures and industry data. This includes key data on the UK pharmacuetical and Global pharmaceutical markets.


Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (21)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Wholesale of pharmaceutical goods (46.46)
    See Division 46: Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Dispensing chemist in specialised stores (47.73)
    See Division 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (C21)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Wholesale of pharmaceutical goods (G4646)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Dispensing chemist in specialised stores (G4773)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’

Global statistics


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemicals, etc. (2423)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Pharmaceutical products (30)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the Industrial Commodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Hormones, prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes, derivatives and structural analogues thereof (35)
  • Antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments containing penicillins or derivatives thereof (35)
  • Other medicaments for therapeutic or prophylactic uses (35)
  • Medicaments of alkaloids or derivatives thereof (35)
  • Medicaments containing vitamins, provitamins (35)
  • Other medicaments of mixed or unmixed products (35)
  • Medicaments of other antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments of penicillins, streptomycins or deriv. thereof (35)
  • Medicaments of other antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments containing insulin but not antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments containing hormones but not insulin or antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments containing insulin but not antibiotics (35)
  • Medicaments containing corticosteroid hormones and other hormones except insulin (35)
  • Medicaments of alkaloids or derivatives thereof (35)
  • Antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products (35)
  • Vaccines for human medicine (35)



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • pharmacists;
  • pharmacy and other dispensing assistants; and
  • pharmaceutical technicians.

The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (21)
  • Wholesale of pharmaceutical goods (46460)
  • Dispensing chemist in specialised stores (47730)

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


Letter to medicines and medical products suppliers: 30 March 2021
Letter from the Department of Health and Social Care. Provides industry and the wider supply chain with the latest advice and guidance in relation to contingency preparedness, initially put in place for the end of the Brexit transition period to help ensure the continuity of supply of medical goods into the UK.

New guidance and information for industry from the MHRA
Guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for industry and organisations to follow from 1 January 2021. Areas covered include clinical trials, devices, importing and exporting, IT systems, legislation, licensing, pharmacovigilance and paediatrics.

Letter to the health and care sector about the UK–EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement
Letter from the Health Minister Edward Argar MP on preparations for continuity of supply, arrangements for reciprocal healthcare, health security and science, continuing data flows, and recognition of professional qualifications. Published on 30 December 2020.

Life sciences sector and the EU
Guidance from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for the life sciences sector on working with the EU from 1 January 2021.


Brexit-related guidance for companies
Guidance from the European Medicines Agency for pharmaceutical companies on Brexit including the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and the impact of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.


Reports on this sector can be supplied by the Library to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

The websites of trade bodies in this sector are a useful source of industry overviews, contacts and statistics.








The IFPMA provides a directory of member associations arranged by country and region.

The FIP provides a list of member organisations throughout the world with contact details and links.

The WSMI lists member associations by region.

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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