In planning for a “no-deal” Brexit, medicine manufacturers have been tasked with stockpiling 6 weeks’ worth of inventory. This challenging request has been made by the UK government as a precaution against potential disruption to the supply of the 37 million packs of medicine imported each month from the EU.
The problems affecting drug manufacturers
Stockpiling is proving problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is a pressure to increase production to manufacture the extra stock. For pharma companies working under capacity, the solution may be as straightforward as hiring more manufacturing operators to increase production hours. However, those already operating at capacity will require additional production equipment.
With an increase in production comes an increase in stock and storage becomes an issue. Once existing storage facilities reach capacity, additional storage must be sought. Specialist storage may be required with refrigeration and other facilities making it more difficult to source and timely to build.
After producing and storing the medicine, the next matter is shelf life. Many medicines, such as insulin, are suited to shorter production runs due to their short shelf life and solutions are needed to increase the shelf life of these products.
Finally, with pressure to deliver more in a short timeframe, operating costs are set to increase. It has been speculated that a six-week stockpile across the industry will cost £2 billion, with refrigeration alone costing £10 million. Some companies are better equipped than others to deal with this challenge. While Sanofi, Novartis and AstraZeneca have already started stockpiling, small firms may continue to struggle as they don’t have the same cash flows to fund the reserves.
How stockpiling impacts your staff
For CDMOs, every team within the supply chain will feel additional pressure while trying to efficiently stockpile: from departmental heads and leadership teams to manufacturing operators.
With the need to increase manufacturing, and the many additional challenges arising from that task, there is an increase in workload across the company that results in new employment opportunities. Unfortunately, as an industry-wide issue, a lot of companies are now hiring for the same roles at the same time, in an already hard to fill industry. With more roles, the market place is becoming driven by candidates.
QPs are already one of the hardest roles to fill. Best suited to candidates with a background in pharmacy, they are in short supply in the UK. Many CDMOs have a critical need to recruit a QP right now and these candidates can choose from an abundance of opportunities and drive their price up.
With fierce competition over talent and heightened manufacturing requirements, it is more important than ever to work with a reliable resourcing specialist with experience in sourcing globally for these hard to fill roles which should satisfy these job openings.
How Entrust People can help
Stockpiling is a very real and urgent issue, affecting everyone in the pharmaceutical industry.
We have been working very closely with our Contract Manufacturing customers to identify and fill their staffing shortages. Our methodology as a consultative resourcing business allows us to better understand their business goals so we can provide candidates that fit their immediate and long term business needs.
We work within an agreed timeframe to source candidates from a global talent pool. We work across every department in their business, from bench to board, in both permanent and temporary contracts to best suit their needs.
Even in the uncertain and tough times brought on by Brexit, there are plenty opportunities within life science companies to learn and grow. With our help, you can build the perfect team to meet challenging targets, ensuring the country benefits from a continuous supply of drug and vaccine licensed medicines, whatever the outcome of Brexit.