Life sciences superpower, growing the leading global hub in the UK

The UK has the potential to be a world-leading hub for medicines development and discovery, home to the future of cutting-edge life sciences innovation.

The UK now faces a moment of truth. It has the potential to become the leading global hub for life sciences. It’s infrastructure, science base and skills provide a solid base for Britain to compete in the global race for science superpower status.

However, to do so, the UK will need to move quickly to fend off international competition. Last year the UK Government published its Life Sciences Vision and it will need to implement this fully and at pace across all aspects of the ecosystem.

A new report from PwC for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry shines a light on the potential to be gained from unlocking the sector.

Revealing the potential of UK life sciences

A new report from PwC for the ABPI shows that, as a major economic driver for the UK, unlocking life sciences could deliver for the economy as well as the health of patients across the country.

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A new report says the UK has the potential to be the leading hub for Life Sciences in the world by delivering the Life Sciences Vision in full and at pace.


The prize is an economic boost £68.1 billion for the UK economy over the next 30 years.

More jobs in the UK with 85,000 additional jobs across Britain by increasing pharmaceutical exports.


A healthy UK population with a 40% reduction in global burden of disease.


Better and faster access to medicines with NHS patients getting access to every new medicine within 3 months of licensing.


Read more about the value of pharmaceutical industry

What is the size of the prize?

The report looked at several key indicators that unlocking the sector could change and estimated:

  • £68.1 billion in additional GDP over 30 years resulting from increased R&D investment

  • 17,500 jobs created from greater volumes of UK life sciences IPOs sustained each year

  • £1.2 billion additional GDP and 7,230 additional jobs annually from greater foreign direct investment to life sciences each year

  • 40 percent decrease in total attributable burden of disease.

An economic drive for future growth

If the UK were to raise its spending to a per-capita level comparable with that of the United States, an additional £7.2 billion of investment would be channelled to its life sciences sector each year. This could deliver £68.1 billion in additional GDP over 30 years.

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Boosting Exports

Boosting pharmaceutical exports

With the right business environment for manufacturing, the UK’s pharmaceutical exports could be increased, leading to greater export revenue and, ultimately, more jobs and higher GDP. If the UK were to increase that share by 4 percentage points, to a level comparable with the United States, Belgium or Ireland, it would gain about £19.5 billion in export revenues.

Improving patient care and access to medicines

If the UK were to achieve NICE’s KPI of all new medicines being approved within 3 months of licensing nationwide, this would rival the leading EU country’s time to availability and reduce wide variation in time to patient access in the UK. This could have beneficial knock-on effects on uptake as well, enabling patients to benefit from these technologies sooner.

Boosting Patient Access

Last modified: 20 September 2023

Last reviewed: 20 September 2023