Scaling the Bioprocess Barricade

Rich WhitworthJust over a week ago, I decided to hop on the early train to Glasgow, Scotland, so that I might catch at least half of the 8th bioProcess UK conference, focusing on advancing next generation therapies. The meeting was held in the very fitting Glasgow Science Center and, given the strikes over public sector pensions that day, there were plenty of youngsters mingling with the crowds—the next generation of bioprocess engineers perhaps? Amazingly, presentations were delivered in the IMAX theatre—I have never seen PowerPoint slides on such a scale before—but given the eminence of some of the keynote speakers involved, it too was quite apt. Read more »

The UK, Bribery and Pharma

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeBribery and corruption are not supposed to happen, but of course they do happen and no industry is immune. In 2009, the World Health Organisation estimated that healthcare fraud and abuse can cost individual governments as much as $23 billion a year.

Fortunately, there are many rules and watchdog organisation keeping a close eye on businesses to make sure everything is honest and above board. In the UK, bribery rules have recently been strengthened by the long-awaited (or long-dreaded depending on how you look at it) Bribery Act 2010. Although it’s UK legislation, it has a long reach. It will impact any corporate entity that conducts business in the UK and applies to business interactions both inside and outside the UK. Read more »

Of Crocuses and Cancer

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeEvery now and then, media headlines become excited by a new potential ‘cure’ for cancer. Usually, this excitement stems from the results of very early research, which often involves a vegetable. Tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts and beetroot have all had their turn in the spotlight over the years. Read more »

A Taste Of Someone Else’s Medicine

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeMistakes happen. In the pharma industry, these mistakes can lead to product recalls. Perhaps the medication is not the correct strength or maybe it became contaminated with metal fragments…

…and sometimes, entirely the wrong drug is found in the packet. In a case that has had UK media reports aflame, a prescription only antipsychotic drug was found in certain packets of a common pain medication that was manufactured by a completely different company. Is it a repackaging mistake? Or are more sinister intentions at work? Either way, it’s clear there are could be a few security holes in pharma’s distribution chains. Read more »

A Rat Is Not A Human!

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeIt’s common knowledge that many of our medicines are tested in rats. It’s also common knowledge that a rat is not a human, so it should come as no surprise that animal studies can only predict a medicine’s effects in humans with an accuracy of 50% at best — no better than the toss of a coin, argue scientists in a recent letter. Read more »

Pfizer Site Closure “Shocking Wake-Up Call” for UK

Julian Upton Pharm Exec EuropeIt’s not too often that a pharma facility closure tops the TV news headlines but that was the case in the UK this week following Pfizer’s announcement that it is to close the UK-based R&D centre that achieved worldwide fame as “the home of Viagra”. Read more »

No Generic Substitution In The UK

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe UK government has said it will not progress with plans for automatic generic substitution of medicines in primary care because “it is not clear whether the proposals would have provided substantial benefit to the NHS”, according to the UK Health Minister Lord Howe. Read more »

UK suffers medicines shortage

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeParallel trade in the EU: there are arguments for it and arguments against it, but the latest reports from the UK suggest that the trade is having a significantly negative impact on patients and the supply of medicines. Read more »

UK welcomes patent box

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThere has been a lot of talk in the media recently about a tax proposal in the UK that should offer companies more incentive to invest in innovative industries, such as pharma and biotech. The proposal, dubbed the ‘patent box’ was announced in the UK HM Treasury’s Pre-Budget Report 2009. Read more »

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