Global pharmaceutical trade

​A trade balance is the difference between the value of a country’s exports to other countries compared with imports from them. A positive balance is generated when a country exports more than it imports and is referred to as a trade surplus. A negative balance is referred to as a trade deficit or trade gap and shows the opposite situation.

For more information about Britain’s trade in pharmaceuticals, please visit Pharmaceutical trade in the UK.

Figure 1 – World trade in pharmaceuticals

The UK is ranked in the group of countries with substantial positive trade balances. The table below shows the trade values in £million for a number of key countries (sorted by Balance £thousands).

2013 Export
2013 Import
2013 Balance
​Switzerland 39,500,372 15,252,082 24,248,290
Germany 48,188,456 30,449,306 17,739,149
Ireland 18,191,655 3,820,525 14,371,129
France 24,031,466 18,886,283 5,145,182
Sweden 5,484,920 2,884,267 2,600,653
UK 20,775,568 18,247,463 2,528,106
Netherlands (2012) 11,188,025 9,106,007 2,082,017
Spain 8,699,038 9,533,411 -834,373
Italy (2012) 13,383,160 15,025,424 -1,642,264
Japan 2,284,553 13,828,459 -11,543,906
USA 27,317,238 42,752,343 -15,435,105


  1. OECD, STAN Bilateral Trade Database by Industry and End-use category
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