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Able Labs cuts staff after manufacturing suspension

30-May-2005

Able Laboratories has announced sweeping job cuts across its manufacturing division in the wake of the quality control problems emerging at its plant in the US, reports Phil Taylor.

Last week, Able ceased all its manufacturing and recalled products after major problems emerged with its quality control procedures at its manufacturing plant. The company now says it has been forced to reduce its staff by approximately 200, from a level of around 420.

The company was unable to give any guidance as to when - or indeed if - it will be able to resume manufacturing operations. It limited itself to saying that the 'disruption in the company's operations and the reduction in workforce, is expected to have material adverse effect on the company's results of operations and financial position'.

Last week, Able said it had "identified apparent departures from standard operating procedures with respect to certain laboratory testing practices" that would force the recall of drugs. It also said that it was withdrawing several new product applications in the US as a result of the debacle, which has prompted the resignation of chief executive Dhananjay Wadekar.

In 2004, Able manufactured over 1.3 billion tablets, capsules, and suppositories and its plant in New Jersey, and is part way through building a second facility

This is the latest in a string of quality control violations that have led to suspensions in manufacturing at plants serving the US market. Last year, Chiron caused shortages of flu vaccine when compliance issues were uncovered at a plant in Liverpool, UK, while earlier this year GlaxoSmithKline faced similar problems at a plant in Puerto Rico making an antidepressant medication and diabetes drug.

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