Pharmaceutical and Health Care contractors

Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Hoffmann–La Roche, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, AstraZeneca, Abbott Laboratories and Merck & Co collectively turnover £250 billion, employ nearly one million people including tens of thousands of contractors.

You might ask yourself, why the heck do they use so many contractors and not just have lots more employees? 

Well, contractors provide a growing and valuable flexible work force. They also don't come with the financial burden permanent employees carry, so no pension, holiday day, sick pay, workers rights or expensive Christmas party invitations. 

So who or why would anybody like to become a pharmaceutical contractor?


  • Much better daily rates
  • Higher take home pay after tax
  • Flexible work patterns
  • A choice of working environments
  • Develop a greater range of skills whilst being paid
  • Opportunity to work abroad
  • Less office politics 
  • Be more judged on your abilities rather than the typical personality contests that exist in many companies.

There are massive advantages both financial and personal of going freelance – there are plenty of people who’ve already done it and who are reaping the rewards. 

Once you've made your mind up to contract and maybe found a few positions that interest you, you'll have to make the decision whether to work under an Umbrella company or to form your own limited company.

Working through an Umbrella company can be the simplest option, however going limited will mean you net far more of your earnings leaving you with more hard earned cash. See our comprehensive page on limited or umbrella for more details. Even if you just plan on contracting for three months you may still be far better off forming a company and working through your limited company than using an umbrella company. Any accountant will tell you working through your own limited company is the most tax efficient way possible. If you would like to understand how umbrella companies work visit our Umbrella company knowledge centre.

Health Care Locums

Working as a health care locum gives you the freedom to choose where and with whom you want to work. This can be an extremely liberating experience considering the bureaucracy and politics that plague GP surgeries.

One of the biggest benefits of working as a locum has to be the increase in daily rate. Working on a short term contract basis means you can charge a premium for your services – you could be filling in for someone on leave, helping out during busy periods or offering specialist expertise.

There are a few things you should be considering as a health care locum:

  • Registering on the Performers List through your local Primary Care Organisation - you'll need to do this if you want to freelance
  • Keep an eye on your finances - it's a really good idea to get the advice of an accountant for your end of year tax returns. Filling these out can be time consuming and complicated, plus, if you fill them out incorrectly you could be missing out on a substantial amount of your hard earned cash!
  • Finding work - send letters to local practices with your CV or join an agency.

If you have any questions about working through your own limited company or would like any further advice please call our New Business Team on 01442 275789 or e-mail

If you haven’t formed a limited company yet, the government has now made this surprisingly simple - it only takes five minutes.

If you’re interested in the savings you could make to maximise your earnings, have a look at some of these pages

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SJD Accountancy

SJD Accountancy are the UK's largest specialist provider of fixed fee, Limited company accountancy services to contractors; we've been acting for contractors across the UK since 1992 and have more than 15,000 clients.

We are the only national specialist firm of contractor accountants with offices nationwide. SJD Accountancy has more qualified staff than any other firm in our market with qualifications from the following major tax and accountancy bodies - ATT, AAT, CTA, ACCA, CA, ACA and FCCA.

  • Unlimited face to face meetings. This is a unique service only SJD Accountancy offers - unlimited face to face meetings across the UK - tax is complicated and sometimes only a meeting will do.
  • UK's largest contractor accountants with more qualified staff. No call centres, no outsourcing, no automated call handling. Simply telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant face to face.
  • Our Customer Promise. Respond to any question sent to your accountant or any dedicated department within 24 hours.  If we need more time, we will update you as soon as we can and we promise to keep you informed of the progress we are making in answering your question.
  • Outstanding reputation. We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market, including: Best Accountant for Contractors, Accountant of the Year and Best Professional Service Team to name just a few.
  • All inclusive low cost fixed fee accountancy package which includes completion of accounts*, payroll bureau, dividends and corporation tax computations, personal taxation, free bookkeeping software, your own dedicated accountant* and all company returns for a fixed fee starting from £120 plus VAT per month. Check our packages for more detail.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new business team on 01442 275789 or email: Our new business team is open Monday to Thursday (8am to 8pm), Friday (8am to 7pm) and Saturday (10am to 4pm)

Appoint SJD Accountancy and never worry about your tax or accountancy affairs again.

Form your own limited company with SJD - our same day online company formation service includes company bank account set up, VAT/PAYE registration and advice on optimum share structure. 

You may also find the following pages, guides and case studies useful:

*If you would like us to complete your company year end accounts we simply ask that you have been a client of SJD for one year or have made 12 monthly payments. All accountants are part or fully qualified.