11 Hidden Facts on Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Posted by Glynn Williams on 29 Apr


Understanding the pharmaceutical, biotech, and life science industry can be intimidating for the ordinary man or woman. While biopharm remains one of the key pillars of the UK economy, apart from the people who actually work in the labs and within the supply chains, only a few ever understand what goes on behind the scenes.  From the science and discovery to cross company collaborations and experimental drug names, there is so much that never comes to the public eye.

Here are 11 pharmaceutical manufacturing facts and stats that will stun you;

  • As of January 28, 2013, there were more than 139,372 clinical case studies being carried out in about 182 countries.
  • The number of clinical trials globally has increased by an average of approximately 28% since 2000. The 2013 figure was the highest ever in the history of clinical trials.
  • In 2013, more than £32.69 billion was spent on researching more than 2,900 compounds. Experts say that by the time a drug is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the manufacturer will have spent approximately £2.67 billion on research and other expenses including all previously failed drugs.
  • So, how long does it take to develop a drug? Well, it depends but the general time frame is 11 to 14 years. Drug patents are granted up to 20 years and clinical trials begin at the date of filing.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were more than 12,420 different types of diseases and health problems in general by the year 2011.
  • Unknown to many, the process of getting a drug approved by MHRA is very difficult. In fact, it is so difficult that only one drug out of between 5,000 to 10,000 compounds tested in preclinical trials ever makes it to market.
  • Drug recalls are common but do you know how costly they can be? According to industry experts, a company will lose billions of pounds if just one drug is recalled. The recall of an arthritis medication - Vioxx - in 2004 holds the record for the most expensive recall having cost the manufacturer £3.24 billion.
  • Is paying a few hundred pounds for a drug expensive? Well, a certain drug actually costs more than a quarter million pounds. The drug Soliris designed to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria - a rare blood disorder - costs £267,000 pounds per year and is currently the most expensive drug in the world.
  • Ribose-5-Phosphate Isomerase deficiency (popular as RPI deficiency) remains the rarest disease on the face of the planet. There has been only one reported case in the world which was in 1999.
  • If the European pharmaceutical manufacturing market is huge, then the North American market is simply gigantic. Based on figures from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, North America is responsible for approximately 42% of all biopharma sales while Europe comes second at about 27%.
  • Drugs always come and go as new ones are developed to take their places. But some drugs just never go away. Pfizer’s Lipitor remains the most successful drug of all time having netted over £87 billion in sales over its lifetime. The second on the list – Plavix – has netted approximately £42 billion.


WinMan is the ERP systems provider of choice for Pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK. Our ERP software makes it easy to integrate business processes allowing manufacturers to work from a single database without duplicating data.

With the WinMan ERP software, financial accounting, reporting & business intelligence, repair & overhaul, and other in-project activities are greatly simplified. Contact us today on 0121-749-8050 for more information.

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Topics: Pharmaceutical manufacturing

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