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Research guide

Published: 25 Feb 2020 Updated: 12 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

Going it alone: health and Brexit in the UK
Report published by Nuffield Trust on 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.

State of Pharmacy 2020
Survey conducted by Medicspot with support from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA). Provides insight into issues facing UK pharmacies including the new government contract, funding cuts, Brexit and the future of pharmacy.

Pharmacy 2030: A vision for community pharmacy in Europe
Paper published by The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) in April 2019. Outlines the challenges and opportunities facing community pharmacists in the coming years with examples of how countries around the world are responding.

Trends disrupting pharmacy value pools and potential implications for the value chain
Article on the trends reshaping the US pharmacy industry and how companies can best address the changes and remain relevant. Published by McKinsey & Company in February 2018.

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.

A full listing of reference products and research reports on health and beauty specialist retailers 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 including dispensing chemists in the UK. 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 pharmacy industry with the option to view the executive summary and a table of contents for each report.

Useful links

Pharmacy market review 2021
Review of the UK pharmacy sector published by Christie & Co in 2021 giving an overview of the market and recent developments. Includes information on deals, prices trends and key trading performance indicators based on data from Christie & Co's valuations and sales.

Community pharmacy 2019: Measuring the market
Information on the number and type of of pharmacies in Great Britain and changes in the market since 2016. Published by the Pharmaceutical Journal on 26 March 2019.

Industry news

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

Statistics on the UK

NHS Business Services Authority

NHS Business Services Authority compiles the regular report General Pharmaceutical Services which includes information on the number of community pharmacies and contractors in England and the services they provide. Data is broken down by region.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC)

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee provides information on pharmacy funding in England and statistics on a range of areas including number of community pharmacies, dispensing and remuneration.

Community Pharmacy Wales

The funding and statistics section of the Community Pharmacy Wales site provides data on a range of areas including dispensing, prescribing and services performance.

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:

  • 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:

  • Dispensing chemist in specialised stores (G4773)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’



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.

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:

  • Dispensing chemist in specialised stores (47730)

Other regions

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

Legislation and regulation


The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) provides some information on regulations for community pharmacies.

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.

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.

Business guides

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

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.

Trade bodies

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.

Can't find what you're looking for?

The ICAEW Library can give you the right information from trustworthy, professional sources that aren't freely available online. Contact us for expert help with your enquiries and research.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this Business & Industry Guide is correct. However, the content of websites changes frequently and users should satisfy themselves that the information they contain is suitable for the purposes for which they wish to use it. We would be grateful to receive notification of any broken links at library@icaew.com.


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