Staff errors costing UK pharma firms millions, report warns

July 9, 2008

UK pharmaceutical companies are paying a hefty price for errors made by their staff, new research has unveiled.

Losses are estimated at $46.8m (£23.9m, €29.8m) a year [1], with 85% of pharmaceutical companies reporting exposure to impaired reputation in the last 12 months due to employee misunderstanding.

Impact on businesses of employee misunderstanding, specifically among the

  1. Pharmaceuticals
  2. Banking
  3. Petrochemical, and
  4. Transportation sectors.

According to the report, both UK and US employees are costing businesses $37bn (£18.7bn, €23.53bn)[2] every year because of a lack of understanding.

One UK pharmaceutical company surveyed for the white paper learned an expensive lesson when ‘a procurement error resulted in significant production downtime. A dedicated production facility could not function without a chemical catalyst. This oversight left us with no option but to shut down production.’

Company was affected by

  1. Poor procurement practice (18%)
  2. Industrial tribunal settlements (17%) and
  3. Personal injury (11%).

Nine out of ten pharmaceutical companies said employee misunderstanding increased exposure to injuries to their personnel or the public, and loss of sales (96% over the past 12 months. Plus, around 89% said they had been exposed to reduced productivity and 85% cited impaired reputation.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry estimates that 73,000 people are employed directly by the sector


India lets pharma fight compulsory licenses

July 9, 2008

India’s patent office has decided that drugmakers should be able to have their say before the country grants compulsory licenses, which allow domestic generics makers to export copies of patented medicines to countries that don’t have the ability to make the drugs needed to combat a public health crisis.

The patent office on July 4 dismissed a petition filed by Natco Pharma opposing the patent office’s move to seek the opinion of Pfizer before granting a compulsory licence to Natco. The application seeks granting a compulsory licence to manufacture and export generic version of Pfizer’s patented cancer medicine, Sunitinib, to Nepal.

The application was made under Section 92 (A) of the Patent Act and the Patent Rules, 2006, which allows the government to permit or issue compulsory licence to local manufacturers to export patent medicines to the countries, which do not have the capability to manufacture such medicines.

Since such licences are meant to be issued at the time of public health crisis, the Patent Rules do not spell out in detail the modalities of issuing them. Natco had argued that inviting patentee (Pfizer) to appear at the hearing to contest the grant of compulsory licence was not required under the patent law.

The patent office, however, felt that the arguments of the patentee shall be helpful in deciding the terms and conditions for granting such a licence and may also be helpful in avoiding the abuse of the provisions of Section 92 (A).

Source:The Business Standard


India beats UK in number of science PhDs

June 25, 2008

India may have a long way to go before becoming a global powerhouse in science but there’s some reason to celebrate. India has pipped the UK, a biotech power, and left far behind electronics giants South Korea and Taiwan in the number of science doctorates it generated from 1983 to 2003.

Between 1983 and 2003, India’s science PhDs went up from 3,886 to 6,318, while it went up from 2,430 to 3,780 in the UK. South Korea, which began with 281 PhDs, surged to 3225, while Taiwan began with 8 and closed at 202.

Source: Times of India