More than 65% of all medical research and development in the UK is carried out by the pharmaceutical industry.
Even at the start of the 21st century there are many diseases which cannot be cured by existing medicines and surgical treatment. For some there are treatments available, but they often involve complicated combinations of medicines, or the medicines have side effects which discourage people from taking them.
So, discovery and development of new medicines is still very important. Pharmaceutical companies in the UK employ thousands of people, 73,000 at the last count, including laboratory scientists, engineers, IT professionals, statisticians, doctors, pharmacists, marketing managers, medical representatives and many others. In addition to these, there are more than 6,000 people working for specialist companies which provide services to the sector.