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