Business cases

High-precision management for blood derivative products

Fuellen KleinDrugs made from blood plasma, blood derivative products are used in the treatment of numerous diseases, such as hemophilia or immunodeficiency. Their use is often associated with life threatening situations. These highly sensitive products represent a market nearing 10 billion dollars a year, with a steady growth of approximately 10%. Involved in this sector for the past twenty years, SGD Pharma has worked with the main companies and thus developed a high-level expertise to manufacture over 100 million vials specifically dedicated to these derivatives each year.

These vials, distributed in Europe, the US, China and Australia, are subjected to higher quality control scrutiny. And, of course, they have to always be available. In order to ensure proper availability, SGD Pharma has implemented a specific supply chain management making sure that there is always emergency stock at hand… a vital guarantee in a sector where such issues can often be critical.

Interview of Dr Karl Leitner, Head of Production - Octapharma

Could you present Octapharma and its activities in the development, production and distribution of plasma products ?

Octapharma’s core business is the development, production and sale of safe and effective medicines derived from human proteins in the following areas: Haematology (coagulation disorders), Immunotherapy (immune disorders), Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. Octapharma is an independent, Swiss based company founded in 1983. The Group has since grown to include six state-of-the-art production plants in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and Mexico,54 Plasma Donation Centers in the US and in Europe as well as 37 subsidiaries and representative offices. With over 4,000 employees, Octapharma currently makes sales in over 80 countries.

Why did you choose SGD Pharma to supply the glass vials to package your blood derivative drug products ?

The decision to change the supplier for injection and infusion vials was taken more than 10 years ago due to ongoing problems regarding quality aspects and pricing with the former suppliers. SGD Pharma was chosen because of its product portfolio covering all demands of Octapharma in terms of vial sizes and glass types as well as in terms of quality aspects.

How would you describe the relationship with SGD Pharma ?

Octapharma is a producer of high value pharmaceutical products and thus affected by recent trends in pharmaceutical industry to reduce tolerance against defects of primary packaging materials. This new “zero defect strategy”, more and more required by markets, is a huge challenge for each producer of pharmaceuticals as well as for suppliers of primary packaging materials. Along with this, there are currently several ongoing projects at Octapharma to reduce rejects of any kind during final
container inspection. It has been possible to reduce the glass defect rate in final container inspection significantly with measures taken at our glass supplier SGD Pharma as well as in house. The key to success is continuous communication about the quality level and defect rate as well as immediate feedback in the case of any measurable deviation from the commonly agreed goals.