The trade balance of medicines exports over imports rose from £1.43 billion (€2.04bn) in the first six months of last year to £1.78 billion for the same period in 2003 - a rise of 24 per cent. Exports rose from £5.03 billion to £5.55 billion, while imports moved from £3.60 billion to £3.77 billion.
"These figures underline yet again the major contribution that the UK-based pharmaceutical industry makes to the British economy as well as to people's health," said Trevor Jones, the ABPI's director general.
"The UK is still a major base for much of the global pharmaceutical industry, and these figures highlight just how important it is to the national economy for this to remain the case," he added.
The trade balance with other European Union countries has shown an especially high increase for the January-June period of this year over last - 276 per cent.
The full year figures for 2002 showed that exports rose to a record £10.05 billion. With imports reaching £7.51 billion, the trade balance for the entire year was £2.55 billion.