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Industry Insight

We live in an ever-changing, technology-driven world, and the tools that affect our lives most are those associated with the management of information and communication. Consider the impact that digital communication platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have made on our social (and professional) interactions. Similarly, organisations are now using social media for sharing information, and are becoming increasingly dependent upon effective data retrieval and management to run their businesses. The pharmaceutical industry is no exception – evident in this edition of PMPS, with articles following the theme of ‘information technology’ and how it is being used to drive efficiencies across many areas of the sector.

Martyn Williams and Andrea Grall of COPA-DATA provide reasons why pharma should be considering energy-saving initiatives, not only to reduce carbon emissions and help protect the environment, but because such approaches inevitably result in cost savings. In particular, they describe how an energy data management system can be pivotal in achieving a substantial reduction in energy consumption.

Data management systems are also being adopted by sectors of the industry that were traditionally reliant on paper-based systems. For instance, Kallik’s Neil Gleghorn discusses the implementation of a labelling and artwork management system, and how it can prove beneficial to both marketing and regulatory teams.

There has been much debate in recent years on the subject of personalised medicine and how this can become a reality. Alan Cox at Indigo Lighthouse outlines an interesting scenario where advances in informatics should soon enable patients to self-monitor physiological data in real-time. Such analytics could be transmitted directly to electronic medical records, which would lead to a far more efficient interface between patient and doctor.

On a slightly different theme, but still related to information technology, ABB’s Mike Wilson proposes the use of robotics in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Robots can be found in many product testing laboratories throughout the pharma industry – despite this, the thought of a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility where all the activities are performed by automated systems is certainly an eyebrow raiser. Yet perhaps this is not such a futuristic idea after all; the use of robots on car assembly lines has been a general practice for many years. Why should the manufacture of pharmaceutical products be any more difficult to automate than car production?

Another focus in this edition relates to the design and construction of facilities. Todd Hallam at Chalcroft brings our attention to the recently revised UK Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, while Teknomek’s Sue Springett talks of a framework for good practice in the installation of labs and cleanrooms.

With plenty more hot topics covered – from clean sealing guidance and tablet tooling, to emerging market growth and its impact on over-the-counter drugs – there is much to be learned from this issue. I hope you enjoy it.

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