Butterworth Laboratories Continues To Support the Pharmaceutical Industry during COVID-19 Crisis

24 April 2020
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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, we are taking every step we can to ensure that our essential services remain available to support the pharmaceutical industry whilst implementing every precaution we can to keep our employees safe.  The extensive planning and application of new working practices in a very short time has enabled our laboratory to continue offering its services with relatively little impact on our capacity and we continue 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, we consider ourselves to be classified as a key service provider under the current Government guidelines.  As such, we intend to remain open and provide as normal level of service to our clients as possible.

To do this we have taken the following actions:

  • We have temporarily closed our Administration site at Hampton by enabling the staff there to work from home.
  • We have asked our analysts to continue to come into work to keep laboratory operations running. To mitigate risk and allow for social distancing, we have put in place a temporary shift pattern to reduce the numbers of staff onsite at any one time.  We are achieving this by extending our working week from 5 to 7 days. 
  • Implemented increased cross-training of laboratory staff to ensure that skills are shared across the analytical team and give us greater flexibility should staff members be affected directly by the virus.
  • We have curtailed face-to-face meetings and are using video conferencing instead.

If the current situation changes we may need to revise these plans, but at present our new operations are running smoothly and uninterrupted.  In fact, we even have some spare capacity at present, however, as a laboratory proving key services to the pharmaceutical industry we may need to prioritise new work to ensure the manufacture and release of critical drugs.

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

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

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

For further information, contact Justin Robinson at Justin.robinson@butterworth-labs.co.uk

Based in SW London and founded in 1974, Butterworth Laboratories Limited is an independently-owned contract laboratory offering chemical analytic services to the Pharmaceutical and other industries.