The UK drug major said the move will provide both cost and flexibility benefits and highlighted the Asian manufacturing sector, particularly in China and India, as one of the most important sources.
The other part of the plan will see Astra’s existing manufacturing capacity play more of a role in formulation, while distribution will be handed over to regional third parties at “key trigger points.”
Although sourcing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from Asia is an established cost cutting move, to date, none of Astra’s Big Pharma peers have proposed such a complete implementation of the strategy.
A company spokesperson told in-PharmaTechnologist that quality monitoring would be a key part of implementing the new plan, explaining that “Suppliers and contractors are regularly inspected to ensure they meet our quality requirements.
“We also recently established regional offices to optimise further our supply chain activity, which includes sourcing centres in Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India, established to identify high quality suppliers in those region.”
She added that: “This is an ongoing process and we continuously review our manufacturing assets to make sure that they are being used in the most effective way, whilst preserving the flexibility we need to respond to fluctuations in demand.
“It's worth noting that the AstraZeneca strategy is not to fully outsource supply and manufacturing activities; in some areas we see competitive advantage in retaining these capabilities in-house,” citing packing operations as an example.