This is some £600 million more than estimated earlier this year and means that, in trade terms, pharmaceuticals are now worth almost as much to the UK economy as North Sea oil.
The figures reveal that UK pharmaceutical exports grew over the year by 17 per cent resulting in a trade surplus of £3,634 million - a 38 per cent increase over 2002. In 2003 UK pharmaceutical companies exported £11, 926 million worth of medicines (compared to £10,185 million in 2002), while the UK imported medicines to the value of £8,293 million (£7,549 million in 2002).
These results further cement the medicines and pharmaceuticals sector as the third most profitable UK exporter. The industry is also rapidly catching up with oil, whose trade surplus over the same period was only £200 million greater at £3,813 million. Although most UK pharmaceutical trade is with EU partners, the greatest trade surpluses are with exports to North American and Asia/Oceania nations.
"These better than expected figures show that the UK pharmaceutical industry is a national success story," said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. "Not only is the sector one of the most profitable for the UK economy, but it is also a truly global business with its medicines helping patients in all corners of the world."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410