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home > pmps > winter 2003 > quality and risk management in botanical supply chains
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Quality and Risk Management in Botanical Supply Chains

Every company that uses plant-based ingredients in their products faces a number of sourcing challenges. Whether the product is a pharmaceutical grade drug or API; a personal care or 'cosmeceutical' product; a plant-derived medicinal extract a traditional herbal medicine or a functional food from a raw material sourcing perspective, the issues of quality, sustainability and traceability are remarkably similar. Techniques and processes devised to tackle these issues in relation to traditional medicines are very relevant even to manufacturers of pure plant-based compounds and derivatives. Many leading companies now recognise the importance of demonstrating efficacy to customers through the performance and documentation of clinical trials. Mounting scientific evidence can only serve the marketplace in a positive way. However, the validity of this data will be severely challenged if the basic plant raw materials are of an inadequate and variable standard, as this will affect the final product. The issues of quality, batch-to-batch variability and sustainability should be tackled in order to maintain consumer confidence.

Trends in Botanical Materials Usage and Regulation

Over the past 10 to 20 years, plant-derived products have enjoyed differing fortunes according to the market sector. Despite the unrivalled chemical diversity of the plant kingdom and past successes in drug development from morphine to Taxol, pharmaceutical companies have been drawn away from natural products by the allure of combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput screening. The reasons for this are complex but include a belief in greater returns per unit of expenditure, better control over intellectual property (IP), and a realisation of the inherent difficulties in managing a plant-based supply chain.


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By Dr Trevor Theobald, Business Development Director, Indira Walker, Quality and Regulatory Affairs Director, and Dr Christopher Stewart, Botanical Sourcing Manager, at Kings

Dr Trevor Theobald is Business Development Director at Kings. He has many years' experience in both R&D and business development roles in the natural products and extracts arena with Courtaulds and British Sugar before joining Kings.


Indira Walker is Quality and Regulatory Affairs Director at Kings. She was UK/Eire Quality Manager/Qualified Person for Pharmacia Ltd and has QA and Regulatory experience at Daiichi Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly and Fisons plc.


Dr Christopher Stewart is Botanical Sourcing Manager at Kings. Previously with Oxford Natural Products, he has experience in managing crop development projects in the UK, Vietnam, the Caribbean and the Philippines.


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Dr Trevor Theobald
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Indira Walker
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Dr Christopher Stewart
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