We are fortunate in the UK. For many illnesses, you need only head to your local pharmacy and hey presto: they have a medicine for your ailment.
However, there’s (a very necessary) catch: before anyone gets access to these medicines, chemists must tread the long path of discovery.
And once the drugs have been discovered, they have to be tested, trialled and manufactured.
This takes time and money. A new drug can take over 10 years to find its way onto the shelves and cost billions of pounds to produce.
Now more than ever, the companies that develop drugs — from blockbusters to generics — have to be flexible. To do this, pharmaceutical manufacturers are automating their processes and modernising production.
This often means starting from scratch. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the UK’s largest drugs companies, is pumping £350m into a biopharmaceutical facility at its Ulverston site, for example.
Now more than ever, the companies that develop drugs — from blockbusters to generics — have to be flexible. To do this, pharmaceutical manufacturers are automating their processes and modernising production
According to GSK, the new facility will be chock-full of modern processes designed to drastically reduce the cost of production.
But it’s not all about multi-million pound facilities, as our May cover story points out.
Some smaller companies simply cannot afford to buy the latest technology because they aren’t as cash-rich as many would believe. There also seems to be a disconnect between these companies and the amount of support they have access to.
This has led some to suggest that spending on research and development is too high.
Those in favour of reducing R&D spend also think the manufacturing sector should be held in higher regard. It’s no secret that manufacturing is absolutely vital for the UK economy. Perhaps it’s time we gave the manufacturers something back?