Melbourne hand sanitiser producer supplying six times its forecasted rate

One of Australia’s largest pharmaceutical companies now has a 24-hour production line in Melbourne’s south-east.

Family-owned business, Ego Pharmaceuticals is running its production line in a Braeside factory for 3 shifts, 24 hours per day.

Alan Oppenheim, managing director of Ego Pharmaceuticals told MHD that the company has increased production output of Aqium hand sanitiser significantly this year.

“In January we supplied double our forecast and in February we supplied 6 times our forecast,” he said.

Ego Pharmaceuticals is Australia’s largest pharmaceutical company specialising in dermatology products that manufactures all its products in its pharmaceutical plant in Melbourne. Ego products include QV gentle cleansers and moisturisers, SunSense, DermAid, MOOV Head Lice treatments and Aqium hand sanitiser.

“Aqium supply is at record levels, as is Aqium production,” Alan said.

“In fact, when we launched Aqium in about 2000, it was the only hand sanitiser – Aqium created the market for hand sanitiser in Australia.”

Alan said the demand for Aqium Hand Sanitiser seems to be infinite at the moment.

Supply has been prioritised for Australia only, its existing hospitals contracts and through pharmaceutical wholesalers to all 5,500 pharmacies in allocation controlled by the wholesalers.

Ego supplies its products through all pharmacies across Australia and Alan said the company has always sold Aqium to hospitals and doctor clinics.

“Half of our production is exported to 24 nations across Asia, Middle East and Europe,” he said.

“Our engineers are working creatively to further increase production output of Aqium Hand Sanitiser, now, in the medium term and for the longer term.”

He said its engineers are working creatively to further increase production output of Aqium Hand Sanitiser, now, in the medium term and for the longer term.

“We are working through supply issues of other raw materials from many nations, to increase their supply to us,” he said.

In 2016, the company opened its $20 million production expansion to manufacture flammable pharmaceutical products, especially Aqium.

“From the delivery of bulk alcohol, to the manufacture of the bulk product and the filling and palletising of Aqium, the line is the world’s best practice in automation,” Alan said.

“This is challenging as the product is flammable, so keeping the electrics separated from the alcohol vapours is vital for the safety of our people,”

“In 2019 we ran the facility for 2 shifts, 16 hours per day and In 2020 we now run the facility for 3 shifts, 24 hours per day.”

The Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) stated that as of 6 March 2020, the TGA has not received any notifications of medicine shortages in Australia that are a direct result of COVID-19.

“The TGA is closely monitoring international manufacturing of medicines and liaising with Australian medicine sponsors, wholesalers and pharmacists to determine any potential future impact to medicine supply to Australian consumers,” TGA said on a medicine shortage update on its website last week.

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