Many congratulations to Lipa Pharmaceuticals, winners of the CMA 2019 Quality Manufacturing Award. No strangers to taking this important accolade, Lipa Pharmaceuticals adds this year’s award to those received in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Dusko Pejnovic, Lipa Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Executive Officer, spoke to CMA about the award, the people who made winning possible and the blossoming high-quality manufacturing of complementary medicines in Australia.
Dusko Pejnovic receives CMA 2019 Quality Manufacturing Award from CMA Chief Executive, Carl Gibson
“When people talk about quality, many associate it only with the process of manufacturing,” says Dusko. “But to our employees, it’s so much more. It’s a broad-ranging approach to what quality manufacturing should be for our customers and this includes quality of manufacturing ingredients, approach to customer service, internal processes and systems, compliance, communication and ultimately what the customer perceives as value for money.”
Taking extra steps
Dusko explains that understanding what the customer wants and needs and effectively interpreting what is possible when putting a product or an order for a product together is vital. “Understanding what is needed and signalling when it is possible and also when it is not possible, considering material lead times and why a product might not be ideal – all of this needs to be communicated for clarity and to support ongoing positive relationships.”
What about the pitfalls?
“The quality of product drills down to the quality of materials,” says Dusko. “Both here in Australia and overseas, quality raw materials are acquired – but at a price. Most people chase the lowest price. But some materials obtained globally might not be what they should be. So, it is critical to test materials and processes, examine suppliers and ensure that the supply chain is as good as it can be.”
Dusko adds that raw ingredients do not have to always be perceived as Rolls Royce quality, they can be and there are lower cost suppliers but it is all about testing and having a long term relationships with suppliers so there is transparency of the supply chain. “It is critical to assess the quality of the supply chain and the materials in that supply chain to ensure that there are no surprises - and no risks, this is a multilayered and ongoing critical process!”
High-quality manufacturing and Australian complementary medicines
“What many consumers and people don’t understand or appreciate,” says Dusko, “is that Australia is the only country in the world where the manufacturing of supplements is regulated and controlled by a pharmaceutical regulator.”
In other countries, complementary/supplement products can be or are made virtually in any basic food class facility, depending upon what level of food the complementary/supplement product will be classed as he explains.
“In Australia, pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing, with all its compliance related requirements, provides the ultimate standards in the processing of products which are made under exacting conditions and standard operating procedures. The skills of operators are high and activities regulated - our processes are fully document and traceable, while materials are tested to ensure they are analytically compliant to specifications,” Dusko says.
Asked about how it feels to take this award again this year, Dusko says: “It is a thrill and a sense of achievement to receive this award because it’s recognition by our customers, those who vote for us, that we are doing something right. They recognise that we do our absolute best in terms of service and quality. And that means a lot.”
A team effort
Around 350 people work across the manufacturing site at Lipa Pharmaceuticals and each person and each department play a vital role. “From those on the manufacturing floor to those doing testing, customer service and many support roles – each is critical to our success. After all, if anyone in the process doesn’t contribute or something doesn’t work, success wouldn’t be possible,” explains Dusko.
As well as being very proud of the team, Dusko ends by saying that he is also proud of CMA. “Because of the work of CMA, we have been able to carve out our unique position in terms of global marketing where it comes to quality of complementary product manufacturing. Globally over the last three to four years, the interest and desire to engage with and buy our products is an impressive success story. Just read the news and media feedback from Asian countries! We should be collectively proud to be recognised as an industry for the quality of our products and the high-quality standards of raw material used to make complementary medicines in Australia,” ends Dusko.