The pharmaceutical industry has to deal with many of the same commercial pressures as other industries, and in many cases, the nature of the products means companies are subjected to much greater control and regulation. For the filling and packing process, the need to maximise efficiencies and productivity, to be agile and flexible and able to respond quickly to customer demands are more essential. Selection of the most appropriate equipment is key to achieving the Right First-Time approach that will help companies meet customer requirements and make the most of all opportunities. According to Richard Aitchison of ATS Packaging Machinery, equipment suppliers can play a key role in ensuring pharmaceutical manufacturers can take the Right First-Time approach to their packing requirements.
‘Delivering Efficiency on The Packing Line‘
To the lay person, the pharmaceutical industry may appear to be bullet-proof, a sector that can survive and prosper whatever the economic climate. Just as the fact that we still have to eat, even in more straitened times, benefits food manufacturers, illness takes no notice of current market conditions. This means that, whether we are seeking treatment for a common cold or a more serious ailment, the pharmaceutical industry will always be needed to provide the remedy.
Even the unprecedented situation of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about opportunities for the sector. In the USA, for example, a survey undertaken last year by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs found that many adults planned to be more mindful of their self-care habits, with 80% of respondents saying that they would be more likely to practise regular self-care once the pandemic is over.
Sales of vitamins and minerals have also seen huge increases as consumers seek to boost their health and immunity. According to market researcher Kantar, UK sales reached record levels in 2020, with more than half the population having bought a supplement of some type in the past year.
That the pharmaceutical sector is relatively shielded from normal business pressures is of course a huge over-simplification and does not take into account the many challenges that pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to face. The speed of the development of the Covid-19 vaccines has been hugely impressive, but the fact remains that for the vast majority of new drugs, the path from formulation to regulatory approval is usually long and arduous. On average, it can take around ten years for a new medicine to Delivering Efficiency on The Packing Line complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace, with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years.
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