Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A headache in the making?

There is a report on Bloomberg today that Rhodia, the French pharmaceutical company is closing down the last paracetamol factory in Europe, unable to match the prices of Chinese and Indian product.

The checks on the overseas factories are apparently fairly frequent and rigorous so that's alright then, or is it?

We wouldn't feel comfortable having all baby milk production based in China at present, we would want a reliable alternative probably based in Europe. The pressures on factories to cut costs can result in all sorts of quality issues and somewhere in the supply chain there could be a rogue company supplying a number of producers. The drug retailers are no longer willing to pay a premium for paracetamol from a plant with decades of contamination free production. The consumer is not getting a choice, but is taking the risk, unlikely though it may be, of ingesting something toxic. Many would be willing to pay more to avoid this.

Paracetamol is widely used by millions of people each year, if there is ever a major product recall because of contamination it will create panic as there may be no suitably trustworthy substitute available in the volume required.

This is one headache we should seek to avoid. Keep a stock of US made paracetamol to hand.

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