‘Booming’ pharmaceutical industry in Scotland

A report conducted by the University of Strathclyde has revealed that the pharmaceutical market in Scotland is booming with over £462m in exports…

The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at the University of Strathclyde has revealed a report showing the value of Scotland’s pharmaceutical industry. 

The report suggests that the Industry is now the second biggest spender on R&D, exports £462 million worth of products and has seen job numbers rise 1.6 percent.

World-leading clinical trials developing the latest medicines and vaccines for use across Scotland and the rest of the world also represent a multi-million-pound investment in Scotland’s clinical research sector; in 2016/17 the combined value of active studies in Scotland was £36.8 million.

Pharmaceutical companies are major employers across Scotland with high-value jobs in towns and rural communities outside of the major cities, including in the some of the most deprived areas of Scotland.

The new data, following a study from November 2017, shows the sector now directly employs 5,130 full time equivalent (FTE) people throughout Scotland, an increase of almost 1.6 percent since last year (5,050 jobs).

The investment from the pharmaceutical industry in Scotland has a significant impact on the wider economy: for every 100 FTE employees working in the industry, an additional 240 jobs are supported elsewhere in the economy. In total, the sector indirectly supports more than 17,000 jobs across Scotland, an increase of 3 percent since last year (16,500 jobs).

Gross wages and salaries per head in the pharmaceutical industry in Scotland are around £15,000 higher than the Scottish average, showing the comparative advantage versus other sectors.

The pharmaceutical sector has also been identified by the Scottish Government as a key contributor to the life science Growth Sector and the figures in the latest report make clear why. The industry exports £462 million worth of manufactured goods and supports £2.5 billion worth of industrial output every year. Overall, the sector has a GVA worth £1.7 billion.

Almost £120 million is spent on business R&D in Scotland by global pharmaceutical companies, the second highest in the manufacturing sector for spending on research and development after consumer electronics.

Alison Culpan, Director of ABPI Scotland, said: “Scotland is internationally renowned for our legacy of scientific excellence, having fostered great scientists and given rise to world-changing breakthroughs. Ours is a sector Scotland can be proud of. Our industry is booming – employing people in highly skilled jobs across the length and breadth of the country.

“As we navigate the challenges of leaving the EU, it’s more important than ever for the Scottish Government to be ambitious, working in collaboration with ABPI Scotland, our members and the wider Life Sciences community, to secure an environment for our industry to flourish, ultimately reaping rewards for patients and our economy.”

Some large global pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Roche have facilities in Scotland, with a new £56 million Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire, Scotland in June this year, ensuring that the UK remains a top technology and innovation leader in small molecule pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing.