Covid-19 demand leads pharma company to double its Waterford-based workforce

West Pharmaceutical Services shifts to 24/7 operating schedules at several sites
Covid-19 demand leads pharma company to double its Waterford-based workforce

The company will supply millions of rubber vial stoppers for Covid-19 vaccines to over a dozen global customers. Picture: Brian Lawless

A surge in demand as a result of Covid-19 has led a pharmaceutical company to double its workforce here.

West Pharmaceutical Services’ Waterford plant will supply millions of rubber vial stoppers to over a dozen global customers, that could be used to package over a billion vaccine doses in multi-dose vials.

West says the plant has doubled its workforce to meet the new demand, with the company now employing over 900 team members here.

“We are committed to doing our part to provide for the large-scale manufacture of high-quality components required to serve customer needs for the delivery of a safe, effective Covid-19 vaccine,” said Don O’Callaghan, West’s VP for European Operations.

“This has resulted in growing our global workforce, expanding facility and equipment resources, and shifting to 24/7 operating schedules at several sites to address the demand for components associated with Covid-19.” 

Packaging components

The company also supplies primary packaging components for therapeutics used to treat the virus.

Mr O’Callaghan said that customers are seeking components made by West to support development work, clinical trials, and potential post-approval launches.

“Our sites in Germany, Serbia, France and Ireland are working closely together to balance production at a European level in order to ensure we can offer the best possible response to our customers. We are also committed to scaling production to meet their future volume requests,” he added.

The Waterford plant also produces proprietary elastomeric laminate sheeting, which is used to package insulin for use in pen injectors.

The plant has been commercially operational since 2018 and is situated on a 44-acre campus.

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