To Safeguard North East Pharma Industry, Economic Contributions Must Be Enhanced

John Sandles

By John Sandles

08 Dec 2017

The North East of England has a long heritage of pharmaceutical manufacturing that has evolved successfully to adapt to modern industry needs in the UK, and globally. With Brexit looming, it is important to ensure that the entirety of the North East pharmaceutical sector remains strong, to provide confidence for investors, owners, and customers alike.

To make sure this long history of success continues, CPI, First for Pharma and the North East LEP have compiled a report to present why and how economic contributions to the North East Pharmaceutical sector should be enhanced. The report is an aggregation of data compiled through interviews with senior members of the 12 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in the region, which has been supported with published economic data. Output from the report was included in Sir John Bell’s recent Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.

The North East of England has a long heritage of pharmaceutical manufacturing

The report found that the sector has a huge national economic importance, bringing an estimated annual GVA contribution to the UK between £0.73 billion and £1.28 billion, and employing between 4,300 and 5,300 people. Of those employed, 2,000 individuals hold high value research or manufacturing roles, and this is only set to grow in the coming year. 

However the report also highlights how most employees are aged 31 – 50, emphasising how investment in skills is necessary to maintain the quality and stability of the local labour force for future generations. 

The sector has been found to be diverse and well established, with an internationally trusted reputation for reliable regulation and business resilience. With the region being home to companies spanning the entire pharmaceutical supply chain. The combined company capabilities in the region mean the North East has capability to develop drugs from preclinical stages, through clinical manufacture, to commercial supply – something unique, and of great competitive advantage to the North East.

After assessing the sector, the report set out several recommendations to ensure that the performance of the region can be maintained, in order to grow pharmaceutical manufacturing of the North East into the future:

Promotion of the sector and its needs

The scale, diversity and opportunities of the pharmaceutical industry in the region must be promoted to enhance opportunities for successful manufacturing nation wide. 

Development of a supply chain and logistics strategy

Collaboration must happen to strengthen and build a more cost-effective supply chain and identify opportunities to improve logistics support. 

Innovation

To solve both current and future industry challenges, manufacturers in the region must take advantage of the developing technologies such as continuous manufacturing, high potency manufacturing and applying digital technologies. 

Skills

In the current policy environment it is important to consider changes to labour supply to ensure that the supply of skills into the sector remains strong. 

Regulatory Environment

Regulatory strengths, labour market and research relationships should be maintained during and beyond leaving the European Union, and these issues should be communicated during the Brexit negotiations. 

Co-ordination

Co-ordination between North East pharmaceutical leaders and other leaders should be enhanced to bring these recommendations forward. 

You can read the Profile and Importance of the North East Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Sector: Growing Its Contribution’ report:

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