Butterworth supports pharmaceutical industry during COVID-19 crisis

Published: 6-Apr-2020

Butterworth Laboratories contract analytical laboratory remains open for business as (almost) usual

Keeping the supply chain of life-saving and life-changing drugs functioning efficiently is demanding under normal circumstances, so the difficulties experienced during these unprecedented times are intensifying an already challenging predicament.

As such, Butterworth Laboratories are taking every step to ensure that its essential services remain available to support the pharmaceutical industry, while implementing every precaution it can to keep employees safe. The extensive planning and application of new working practices in a very short time has enabled the company's laboratory to continue offering its services with relatively little impact on capacity and its continues to provide analysis of APIs and excipients, as well as testing finished products.

As a contract analytical testing laboratory working to support the manufacture and release of medicinal products, Butterworth Laboratories considers itself to be classified as a key service provider under the current Government guidelines. As such, it intends to remain open and provide as normal level of service to clients as possible.

To do this Butterworth has taken the following actions:

  • Temporarily closed the Administration site at Hampton by enabling the staff there to work from home
  • Asked analysts to continue to come into work to keep laboratory operations running. To mitigate risk and allow for social distancing, it has put in place a temporary shift pattern to reduce the numbers of staff onsite at any one time. It is achieving this by extending the working week from five to seven days.
  • Implemented increased cross-training of laboratory staff to ensure that skills are shared across the analytical team and give the company greater flexibility should staff members be affected directly by the virus.
  • Curtailed face-to-face meetings to use video conferencing instead

If the current situation changes Butterworth has said that it may need to revise these plans, but at present the new operations are running smoothly and uninterrupted and it even has spare capacity at present. However, as a laboratory proving key services to the pharmaceutical industry Butterworth may need to prioritise new work to ensure the manufacture and release of critical drugs.

Should the company suffer a loss of capacity, it may have to prioritise work contingent to the immediate importance to health of the final product of the samples that we are testing. It will keep clients fully informed if this situation arises and will work with them to find the best solution for their work.

Regarding its supply chain, Butterworth are able to store additional stocks of consumables where appropriate and the historic approach of using a variety of suppliers means that the risk is spread should resources become scarce within the chain.

Business Continuity Plans are under constant review taking into account the daily government briefings, but at present Butterworth Laboratories is confident that it can retain normal operations for the foreseeable future.

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