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article imageKeeping medicines safe from contamination Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 28, 2015 in Health
Birmingham - This week in Birmingham, U.K. at the Making Pharmaceuticals exhibition a series of presentations focused on the themes of risk assessment and keeping the environment in which medicines are made clean and in control.
Making Pharmaceuticals is an annual event where the manufacturers of drug products and the providers of services, from equipment to analytical testing, gather to discuss and to present the latest technology.
This year’s event (April 28 and 29) was held in at the National Motorcycle Museum. While this might appear a more unusual environment, the museum has a large exhibition hall.
Entrance to the National Motor Cycle Museum in Birmingham  UK.
Entrance to the National Motor Cycle Museum in Birmingham, UK.
As a break from the exhibition delegates were able to visit the delights of the museum and see the interesting collection of motor bikes from different eras. Of special interest are the golden years of the 1930s-60s, when British motorcycles ‘ruled the world.’
Some of the vintage vehicles on display at the National Motorcycle Museum (Birmingham  U.K.)
Some of the vintage vehicles on display at the National Motorcycle Museum (Birmingham, U.K.)
A classic car on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham  U.K.
A classic car on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, U.K.
At this year’s conference there were over 60 stands. Some displayed equipment designed to enhance the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, others were concerned with packaging, cleaning and laboratory testing, and some were hosted by service providers and educators.
Delegates pursuing the various stands at Making Pharmaceuticals 2015.
Delegates pursuing the various stands at Making Pharmaceuticals 2015.
In addition to the commercial aspects, various seminars are held in breakaway exhibition halls. These covered such subjects as computer data security; establishing the shelf-life of products; ensuing reliable processes; and clinical trials.
With pharmaceutical product safety remaining a key issue (with recalls of some sort or another announced each month), ensuing that products are not subject to cross-contamination from microorganisms is a subject of great importance.
To present the latest thinking on this topic, day one of the conference saw presentations delivered through the global pharmaceutical microbiology society Pharmig. The first of these presentations was delivered by Dr. Tim Sandle on the subject of environmental control and environmental monitoring. Here Sandle discussed how rooms in which pharmaceutical products are prepared (so-called “cleanrooms”) need specially filtered air to reduce the numbers of airborne particulates; to have the volume of air in the room replaced at regular intervals; and to ensure that the air is well mixed.
The second presentation was delivered by Rachel Blount. This presentation concerned the best practices for ensuring that surfaces where pharmaceuticals are prepared are “clean” (in terms of removing protein and other extraneous matter) and “disinfected” (where sanitizers are used to kill a sufficient number of microorganisms, including pathogens). The presentation provided information required by regulators to ensure compliance (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.)
Rachel Blount presenting at Making Pharmaceuticals on the subject of cleaning and disinfection of co...
Rachel Blount presenting at Making Pharmaceuticals on the subject of cleaning and disinfection of controlled environments for making medicinal products.
The third discussion was again led by Tim Sandle. This presentation focused on risk assessment. Beginning with the observation that there is no such thing as zero risk, Sandle outlined some of the major risks that can lead to contaminated drug products. These included the risks of contamination being blown in the air; risks from people touching things and transferring bacteria; risks from water (which allows contamination to spread and which acts as an ideal growth medium for many types of microbe); and the risks from materials coming into a facility in an uncontrolled way.
One of the exhibition stands at Making Pharmaceuticals. This one is the not-for-profit microbiology ...
One of the exhibition stands at Making Pharmaceuticals. This one is the not-for-profit microbiology society Pharmig. Here Tim Sandle explains about some pathogenic bacteria to a delegate.
Overall the event was of a high standard, with plenty of time between sessions for delegates to keep up-to-date with the latest product developments.
More about Medicines, Safety, microbial contamination, Microbes, tim sandle
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