The European-based speciality pharmaceutical company, Ethypharm, has collaborated with Reading Scientific Services Ltd (RSSL) to accelerate the manufacture and batch release of fentanyl injection; one of the critical medicines needed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
As a major supplier of essential medicines to the NHS, Ethypharm responded to requests from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for increased volumes of priority medicines by changing its production schedule to meet this urgent need.
"We took the decision to dedicate production at our Romford facility to COVID-19 critical medicines for a three-week period - with one line used for fentanyl injection alone. We had outstanding commitment and performance from our staff on-site, but we needed to be confident that these unprecedented quantities could be delivered to the front-line within the shortest time frame possible, without impacting patient safety," explained Phil Parry, UK General Manager at Ethypharm. "This was only achieved thanks to the exceptional support and professional approach of RSSL, who once again demonstrated why they remain one of our highly trusted partners."
RSSL reduced the conventional 6-8 week timeframe to just seven days - and provided rapid analytical and sterility test services. This agile response enabled Ethypharm to achieve an ambitious lead time of 28 days from manufacture to batch release - much faster than under normal operating conditions.
"Our ability to flex and adapt to our clients' needs was central to this project's success - as was the speed of our response. This meant redirecting resources across our 7 day a week operation - but without compromising any of the stringent measures we have put in place to maintain a COVID-19 work-safe environment for our teams nor the quality of our scientific rigour," said Jacinta George, Managing Director for RSSL.
Ethypharm has now resumed business-as-usual operations at normal volumes across its full hospital product range, but is poised to repeat this emergency response plan in the event of a second peak of COVID-19 infections.
RSSL will continue to work with Ethypharm as one of its key partners. The two companies enjoy a strong working relationship, with RSSL's specialised testing services particularly valued. More recently, RSSL has collaborated with Ethypharm on a strategic level related to the improvement and expansion of production capacity at the Romford site.