Research and development: innovation and investment

Research and development (R&D) lie at the heart of the pharmaceutical industry, which invests more than any other industrial sector in the UK, with up to approximately £13.3 million spent every day. 

More than half of the entire research expenditure by the pharmaceutical industry in the UK is funded and carried out by the industry itself. Following the vast investment in R&D, the research-based pharmaceutical industry is one of Britain’s leading high-technology industrial employers.

Knowledge generated by R&D can flow from one organisation to other companies in the same sector, but in many cases the cutting-edge knowledge flows to other sectors, as well as public and charitable organisations. According to a study by the Office of Health Economics (OHE), this spill-over effect generated by pharmaceutical R&D is estimated to be more than double the return that is captured by the company actually making the pharmaceutical R&D investment. For more information visit Estimating pharmaceutical companies' value to the national economy case study on the OHE website.

The following five sections present more information about the nature and current status of the research development within the pharmaceutical sector in the UK.

  1. The development of new medicines
  2. Industry/university collaborations in the UK
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