Definition of pharmaceutical in US English:



  • Relating to medicinal drugs, or their preparation, use, or sale.

    • ‘The pharmaceutical industry has been reluctant to study medicines in children for various reasons.’
    • ‘There was fury against the pharmaceutical industry and the massive profits that are being made.’
    • ‘He also called on the pharmaceutical industry to set up drug companies to ease the access of drugs in the district.’
    • ‘In the postwar period, the pharmaceutical industry was free-wheeling and little regulated.’
    • ‘The pharmaceutical industry could be reluctant to waive any part of its power in the conduct of studies that it funds entirely.’
    • ‘The pharmaceutical industry is among the most profitable in the world, with profits nearly four times the average.’
    • ‘From the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, statins are an ideal group of drugs.’
    • ‘The pharmaceutical industry has little incentive to develop new drugs for use primarily in developing countries.’
    • ‘The appearance of fake anticancer drugs in the United States led to local action by the pharmaceutical industry.’
    • ‘The organisation believes that the pharmaceutical industry is willing to lower the price of antimalarial drugs.’
    • ‘So what lies in store for the research-based pharmaceutical industry?’
    • ‘All information provided by the pharmaceutical industry has to satisfy stringent regulations.’
    • ‘The public sector has decided to make it public policy to leave drug development in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry.’
    • ‘A long period is needed for pharmaceutical drugs to acquire marketing approval.’
    • ‘The pharmaceutical industry is clearly unable to meet the needs of people with neglected diseases.’
    • ‘Increasingly the pharmaceutical industry is advertising directly to consumers.’
    • ‘For some reason the pharmaceutical industry is seen as the devil, while many others in health care are seen as saintly.’
    • ‘He wanted to create a biocatalyst, using enzymes to try and find applications in the pharmaceutical industry.’
    • ‘Forced switches of drugs within patent threaten the pharmaceutical industry's earning capacity.’
    • ‘Most work on HIV vaccines is being done in the public sector rather than the pharmaceutical industry.’


usually pharmaceuticals
  • 1A compound manufactured for use as a medicinal drug.

    • ‘Some biologists may only work in silico, searching the databases for novel ways to make vitamins or pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics.’
    • ‘Can you tell us more about this herb, especially what other antidepressants or pharmaceuticals should be avoided?’
    • ‘These biomolecules are used effectively in pharmaceuticals and in the development of vaccines and diagnostics.’
    • ‘As evidence, he points to the changes being made in the way manufacturers of pharmaceuticals are inspected.’
    • ‘Bioprospecting is one avenue for the discovery of novel pharmaceuticals, especially antibiotics.’
    1. 1.1pharmaceuticals Companies manufacturing medicinal drugs.
      • ‘Shares in defence, energy and pharmaceuticals are already on the rise and the mood is good.’
      • ‘Analysts expect cross-border mergers and acquisitions to intensify in areas like pharmaceuticals and software.’
      • ‘Muglia said the main markets targeted would be oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, financial services and universities.’
      • ‘We have clients in most sectors, including finance, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and government.’
      • ‘Finally, it's a big week for the pharmaceuticals with no less than five biotechs reporting results.’


Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek pharmakeutikos (from pharmakeutēs ‘druggist’, from pharmakon ‘drug’) + -al.