Pharmaceutical Continuous Manufacturing Industry: Increasing Shortage of Medicines

Continuous manufacturing in the pharmaceuticals industry is a result of advancements in technology with respect to the production techniques. In the past years, the traditional method of batch manufacturing was followed in the pharmaceuticals industry. However, the development in technology has accelerated mass production with improved quality, and it has addressed many primary issues such as the recall of drugs. The pharmaceuticals industry has recently begun to acknowledge the continuous manufacturing as an option to improve and sustain manufacturing operations.

Shortages of essential medicines and drugs are becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. The rising shortage is resulting in burden on the health systems along with additional costs as well as risk to the patients’ health. The patients in need of medicines are failing to receive appropriate doses due to unavailability of medicines. According to WHO Drug Information 2016, shortages of essential medicines have been reported from low, middle, and high-income countries. Medicines shortages pose risks for patient health as a result of non-treatment, under-treatment and possible medication errors from attempts to substitute missing medicines.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the reasons for drug shortages occur for various reasons including quality problems, manufacturing inefficiency, delays, and discontinuations. The drugs that are often short in supply include sterile injectable and oncology/cancer treatments. The notice from manufacturers to the FDA regarding the impending or current shortages of drugs allows the FDA to work with the manufacturers over finding feasible solutions, one of which is usually ramping up the manufacturing of drugs through implementation of new and advanced systems such as continuous manufacturing.

In 2018, the US FDA developed a new Drug Shortage Task Force to explore the reasons and causes of drug shortages. The Task Force analyzed 163 drugs that went short in supply from 2013 to 2017. Moreover, a survey from The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) in 2017 revealed that the treatment category was most commonly involved in drug shortages.

The scenario of drug shortage is also prevalent in the European countries. For instance, according to a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited in 2017, the prevalence of medicine shortage was highin Europe. The three major causes determined for the shortage included manufacturing, economic and regulatory causes. Thus, to meet the rising demand for biologics and drugs and to curb the lack of drug availability, pharmaceutical continuous manufacturing market holds a promising growth scenario.

The pharmaceutical continuous manufacturing market majorly consists of the players such as GEA Group, Coperion GmbH, Gericke AG, Glatt GmbH, Hosokawa Micron Group, Munson Machinery Co. Inc., Powrex Corp, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Freund-vector Corporation, Fette Compacting, Alexanderwerk, LEISTRITZ AG, KORSCH AG, ACG, Cadmach Machinery Co. Pvt. Ltd., and Hovione en Aesica. 

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