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The UK’s Co-operative Group has revealed it is to start manufacturing its own prescription drugs.
The store business has unveiled a partnership with one of China’s leading pharmaceutical firms in a bid to crack the emerging generic drugs market.
Co-op subsidiary Sants is set to invest £20m in the development of a new production plant in Tianjin as part of an agreement with Tasly Group, which is also one of China’s biggest herbal medicine producers.
The Co-op operates more than 600 pharmacies across the UK, as well as running its own pharmaceutical wholesaling business.
It believes the move will give it greater control over its supply chain and protect it from regulatory pressures as the Government bids to lower the wholesale costs of prescription medications.
The group will initially make established generic drugs with a view to marketing them across the EU.
Co-operative Group healthcare director John Nuttall said the deal will help the chain improve its standing in the UK’s healthcare sector.
“This is a milestone in our development which has clear benefits for our business,” he added.
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