Pharmaceutical Innovation & Supply

Scotland’s world-leading industry of pharmaceutical innovation and drug discovery services have been built on a foundation of historical breakthroughs including the world’s first vaccine against viral Hepatitis B and Sir James Black’s Nobel prize winning discovery of beta blockers.  Scotland’s life sciences industry has also discovered and developed world-leading treatments including Salbutamol the world’s best-selling asthma treatment, Zantac for peptic ulcers, the best-selling muscle relaxant Atracurium and Bridion® the world’s first selective agent for reversal of neuromuscular block by steroid agents.  Today, more than 30 companies are developing innovative therapeutics in Scotland.

Decades of research and commercialisation have created a sector serving every stage of the complex and diverse drug discovery, development and manufacturing process.  The Pharmaceutical supply chain in Scotland continues to deliver innovations in tissue provision, discovery tools, drug delivery technology, specialist imaging analysis services, data management, supply chain logistics and data analytics.

In January 2021, The University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute’s analysis of the Pharmaceutical Sector in Scotland reported that the industry continues to grow with an increase in the number of jobs in the sector,  Gross Value Added (GVA), Gross Value Added per head (GVA per head) and the total value of exports.  The findings also show that the wider pharmaceuticals industry in Scotland:

  • Directly employs 5,600 FTE jobs 
  • Supports a total of 15,250 FTE jobs 
  • Supports a total of £2.5bn in Scottish output; and,
  • Supports GVA worth £1.8bn.

Additionally, the report found that the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals industry supports a total of 11,350 FTE jobs, £2.1bn in Scottish output and GVA worth £1.5bn.

Download the University of Strathclyde Fraser of Allander Report

Find out more about Scotland’s specific capabilities and strengths that enable pharmaceutical innovation:


Advanced Therapies and Vaccines   |   Precision medicine   |   Health Informatics

Drug Discovery Services   |   Digital Process and Manufacturing


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