Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided to close its specials manufacturing facility in London, its board announced on 27 January 2015.
Manufacturing of specials has been suspended at the plant since December 2013 following concerns raised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about some of its practices and processes.
Since then Moorfields Pharmaceuticals has outsourced its specials production and the board has now decided that it would be uneconomic to return production to the site. The market for specials has shrunk – down by 28.6% since 2011 – at the same time that regulatory standards have become more rigorous, it says. Forty three staff are facing redundancy.
The company will continue its range of licensed medicines as well as its range of outsourced ophthalmic specials, which are not available from other suppliers.
Lucy Titcomb, lead ophthalmic pharmacist, Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre, says the announcement is disappointing as the unit was the only facility to deal with low usage, niche products.
“There are a few products previously made by Moorfields Pharmaceuticals for which we have no suitable alternative,” she says.
“Patients in whom intracameral cefuroxime, used as prophylaxis against endophthalmitis in cataract surgery, is contraindicated could be given moxifloxacin intracameral injection; patients with severe dry eye could use tretinoin eye drops and intraocular haemorrhage could be dispersed with intravitreal tissue plasminogen activator,” she adds.
“None of these are available from alternative sources and pharmacies supplying ophthalmic units will need to liaise with ophthalmic surgeons to discuss other options.”