• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 29/01/2003

    UK sees healthy growth in investment, but European levels decline

Expenditure on the research and development of medicines has increased by more than 11 per cent in the UK, reaching an estimated total of £3.2 billion, according to figures released today by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). This increase now means that R&D investment in the UK amounts to nearly £9 million per day.


​The estimated number of R&D staff in the UK also increased to a figure of almost 21,000. But while R&D employment continues to grow, it does more slowly than total R&D expenditure. As a result, R&D investment per employee has increased by £20,000 in two years to £155,000 per person in 2001.

"These figures demonstrate just how successful the UK is as an attractive environment for research and development, despite intense competition from other countries - especially the US," said ABPI Director General Dr Trevor Jones. "But even with our achievements, more needs to be done to attract pharmaceutical investment both to the UK and to Europe as a whole so that it can compete even better with the rest of the world."

The figures reveal a contrast between investment in R&D in the UK by pharmaceutical companies compared with the rest of Europe in 2001. UK R&D expenditure has maintained itself at a steady nine per cent as a proportion of global R&D expenditure. In contrast, the rest of Europe is at a current ten-year low.

At this rate, the UK receives a third of the total European investment. By contrast, the US continues to attract an increasing proportion of the world R&D investment - its share of R&D expenditure has risen from 36 per cent in 1992 to 54 per cent in 2001, according to The Outlook for Pharmaceutical R&D in the UK, commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and produced by CMR International.

The report attributes the relative stability of the UK in comparison to the rest of Europe as a base for investment to an increase in R&D activity in this country by the three largest pharmaceutical investors. Between them, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer account for more than 70 per cent of total R&D expenditure in the UK. Others with a significant presence in the UK include Merck, Sharp and Dohme, Organon, Lilly and Novartis.

In addition, it says that the UK is seen by industry to be making proactive moves to improve conditions for R&D activity further through initiatives like the Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Taskforce and the new R&D tax credits.

"Fortunately, joint industry-government initiatives such as PICTF in the UK and the G10 group in Europe show that government has recognised the pressing need to make the UK and the rest of Europe more competitive in attracting pharmaceutical investment. We must ensure that the action taken is effective and meaningful," said Dr Jones.

Other findings raised by the report are:

  • Clinical development has been identified as the largest area of R&D investment in the UK, receiving more than two thirds of companies' expenditure.
  • The largest proportion of UK spend is in cardiovascular and nervous system therapies - reflecting the current global trend in investment.

For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410

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