Purpose ‐ This paper aims to investigate inter firm intellectual capital (IC) disclosures and its variations in top 20 listed pharmaceutical companies in India, study the category wise and element wise IC disclosures (ICD), find out the impact of ICD on the creation of IC in monetary terms, find out correlation between IC valuation and its disclosure, and test significance of correlation. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This is an exploratory and empirical study of ICD by sample companies in 2009 using content analysis. IC is valued as market value minus book value. Five-point scale (0-4), mean disclosure score, range, Chi- squares, Karl Pearson's correlation and Student's t-test are used for analysis and interpretation. Findings ‐ Although top 20 companies of knowledge-led industry, ICD are low, narrative and varying significantly among companies. ICD score varies in range of 4 to 36 against expected score of 96. External capital with mean score of 18.78 is the most disclosed category. Brands and business collaborations is most disclosed element of IC, followed by employee competence and internal organizational capital respectively. ICD leads to creation of IC in some companies. Markets reflected true valuations of ICD in seven companies, and high degree of inconsistency in 13 companies. Overall correlation between IC valuation and disclosure is negative, weak and insignificant. Practical implications ‐ Sector-specific intangible asset monitors should be formulated to capture ICD. Originality/value ‐ The paper measures ICD using five-point scaling technique, it uses Chi- square test (non-parametric test) to calculate inter-firm variations. The paper also correlates ICD and valuation of respective companies with Spearman's correlation for the first time in pharmaceutical companies in India. It proposes inclusion of fourth category i.e. sector-specific items in existing models of ICD.