The volume of finished pharmaceuticals made in the UK in April increased 12.5% year-on-year and 8.6% month-on-month according to data released last week.
An ONS spokesman told us the growth was probably due to an increase in the number of UK-made drugs that were exported to other markets.
The increase in pharmaceutical manufacturing made the biggest percentage contribution to the 0.8% year-on-year rise in total UK manufacturing output in April.
Monthly production output – which combines total UK manufacturing output with mining, oil and gas production – also increased 1.6% year-on-year.
The volume of pharmaceutical products made in the UK does tend to fluctuate.
For example, ONS figures released last year show that pharmaceutical manufacturing output was 4.9% lower in November than in October.
In contrast, output in October was 2.5% higher than in September.
Nevertheless, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) welcomed the April figures as a positive sign.
Research director Virginia Acha said the figures are “the first sign of a welcome resurgence for UK medicines manufacturing” and indicate pharma is “at the forefront of investing in research and innovation for UK plc, but also deliver jobs and drive productivity.”
She also called for continued public private support for UK pharmaceutical manufacturing, citing the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) as an example.
“We must continue to build on this momentum and work hand-in-hand with industry, Government, and regulators to promote this strength and increase investment. Only then will we ensure the UK remains a key player in global medicines manufacturing."