We all have our dose of medicine and mostly we buy what our doctor prescribes or recommends. We consume it because we trust our doctor.
My family’s healthcare is important so as a mother, I follow whatever our doctor says. However, there are times when I used to ask myself why our doctor trusts these medicines and how are these drugs produced? Never have I thought that my curiosity will be answered and I’d be able to personally witness and understand how a medicine is made until that extra-ordinary Thursday.
The weather was fine when I, along with four other bloggers visited Amherst Laboratories, Inc. courtesy of Ms. Anne Apostol and Ms. Rochelle del Callar. Amherst Laboratories Inc., is a subsidiary of United Laboratories or Unilab located in Mamplasan, LIIP, Binan, Laguna. It is the first pharmaceutical laboratory in the Philippines to be EU-GMP certified in 2009 (and also this February 2013). Having European Union-Good Manufacturing Practice certification means they can also export their products in European countries.
Nestled inside the huge pharmaceutical plant are state-of-the-art facilities used in the production of solid and liquid medicines. The first thing I’ve noticed when we entered the plant is the cleanliness. As a matter of fact, to maintain the safety of the medicines they produce we were required to wear a laboratory gown and wrapped our shoes with plastic before we enter the production premises for the solid plant. And yes, we also washed our hands thoroughly.
Orderliness comes next inside the solid plant. Every doors are color-coded and room temperatures are maintained to guarantee the potency of the drug.
Even the uniforms are number-coded so every employee comes in clean. For their laboratory gowns, the company has its own laundry service to ensure that the lab gowns undergo proper cleaning and yes, sanitized before use.
A tour inside the liquid plant did not require us to wear a lab gown at all. It was a 3-storey plant – the ground floor is the packaging area, the second floor is the quality control and the third floor is where the production happens – not manually because as I’ve said, the plant has state-of-the-art facilities, meaning all production are programmed, just hit the button or touch the screen and voila! ingredients are automatically dropped inside the 10,000 liter tank and mixed well.
Quality control is also important. They conduct bioequivalence testing and also adopt pharmacovigilance system. As for my understanding, before a product is packed and released outside the plant, a portion of it undergo some tests. The purpose is to confirm if all ingredients are found; to confirm how it could stand the acidity, how hard is a tablet and how much time before a drug is dissolve inside the stomach. As for the liquid, it is important to know if light does not pass through.
Honestly, I thought Unilab is a foreign company little did I know it was founded by a Filipino. In more than 60 years, that small corner drugstore in war-torn Manila in 1945 now developed as a leading pharmaceutical and healthcare company in the Philippines with over 300 prescription, over-the-counter and personal care brands.
Yes, that extra-ordinary Thursday left me satisfied. Now I know why our doctor always prescribes Ceelin for my kids. Solmux, whenever they have cough or Biogesic whenever they have fever and Conzace for my husband and me. At least I know how these products are treated and made carefully to maintain its efficacy. Unilab indeed stands for Trusted Quality Healthcare.
The day was not only full of educational exploration but of great relaxation too. After the plant tour we were treated with special service at The Asian Secrets Whitening Spa in SM North Edsa The Block.
The spa features the house brand and personal care products of Unilab.
Know more about the spa and my luxurious experience in my next post.