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Creating Value in Drug Delivery

Interview with Mike Schaefers, Vice President & General Manager, Global Pharma, at West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.

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European Business: West Pharmaceutical Services is a globally operating group. Can you please give an overview over your company?

Mike Schaefers: West was established in the USA as a manufacturer of pharmaceutical seals in 1923. Since then, the product range has been constantly expanded. Today, we are the global number one in elastomeric primary packaging for injectable medicines. Around the world, we have 50 locations including 25 manufacturing facilities, 7,700 employees and 1.8 billion USD in global sales. 

European Business: You offer custom-engineered solutions for drug administration and delivery. Can you name some examples.

Mike Schaefers: West makes proprietary packaging, containment and drug delivery products: Stoppers and seals for injectable packaging systems, syringe and cartridge components, self-injection systems, and containment and delivery systems. At the same time, we provide many specific solutions in close cooperation with our customers, not only for new treatment options but also for clinical testing applications. We are strongly involved in our customers’ development activities. We work together in a relationship of trust, which is continuously being renewed through the high quality of our products and new, innovative drug administration solutions.

European Business: How would you describe your market?

Mike Schaefers: We are in a market with high entry barriers. You need to have many certifications and meet lots of different standards and norms to be able to supply pharmaceutical companies or biotech laboratories. It is a highly competitive growth market with great potential. The population is living longer, more people worldwide have access to medical care, and diseases such as diabetes are continuing to spread. All of this is driving demand for drug administration and delivery solutions. In addition, new drugs and treatments are being developed all the time, which is very positive for us, too.

European Business: How are you offering added value in the market?

Mike Schaefers: We are focused on delivering superior value to customers, through our high-quality products and solutions and this is what differentiates West as the global leader for containment and delivery of injectable medicines. West’s broad expertise and offerings are a competitive advantage for our biologic, pharmaceutical, generics, medical device and diagnostic customers. Although, these customers have unique requirements, they have a common need for high-quality components.

European Business: How important is the digital transformation in your industry?

Mike Schaefers: Many medical devices are networked today. It’s not only a matter of administering a drug safely, but also of making sure the patient takes it at regular intervals and at the right time. Connectivity solutions are becoming more and more important, and we are equipping our products with the necessary interfaces.

European Business: So you could say that drug delivery is going digital, couldn’t you?

Mike Schaefers: Yes, we are committed to strengthening our activities in digital drug administration further through the development of new, innovative product solutions. In addition, we want to expand our customer service by providing drug-specific analytical methods, testing processes or documentation and compliance services. We are guided by the principle of working by the side of our healthcare partners to improve patient health, even if we are not in direct touch with the patients. This calls for constant technological innovation.

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