“The resilience of Teva’s operation never fails to surprise me”

Meet Romana Santar, Head of API Production in Europe and General Manager of Teva’s manufacturing facility in Zagreb, Croatia. Romana and her team are part of a manufacturing network where over 90 percent of the medicines supplied by Teva in Europe (as well as 50 per cent of the APIs they contain) are made in Europe [1]. Romana explains how Teva provides an important contribution to the continent’s manufacturing resilience.

My team make the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that make up a drug. Through the sites that I lead, we work across the whole process, from research and development (R&D) to production to commercial distribution. It means we are in control of everything, so it’s a lot of responsibility, but also really rewarding.

The scale and resilience of Teva’s operation in Europe never fail to surprise me. More than 90 percent of the medicines supplied by Teva in Europe are made here, as well as 50 per cent of the APIs they contain [2]. It all adds up to a significant presence in API production, manufacturing and supply chain across the continent and beyond. We also supply APIs to every Teva production site around the globe.

Teva API also supports 75% of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies [3]. We have a portfolio of nearly 400 API products that are sold to more than 1,100 customers in over 100 countries. It’s gratifying to know that besides producing APIs for our own medicines, we’re also supplying ingredients to other pharmaceutical companies and partners.

The resilience of our operations was put to the test in 2020. I’m proud that, despite the COVID19 pandemic, we were able to ensure continuous production. Our priority was obviously to keep our people safe and to allow the safe production of APIs to continue seamlessly. That we were able to do this was not by chance – it’s down to the scale and resilience of our network. It’s also a testament to the commitment and attitude of all our employees, down to the last operator on the factory floor. There is a collective sense of responsibility for what we do – we’re making potentially life-changing ingredients to help improve patients’ quality of life.

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The impact of COVID-19 has given us a deeper understanding of just how valuable our presence in Europe is. While the sheer size and scale of our manufacturing meant that our work was not jeopardized by the pandemic, we are constantly reviewing our activities and looking at how we can adapt to best support our supply network and ultimately provide better service to our customers. We’ve also been very active in donating essential supplies, such as disinfectants, to local health authorities in order to help them fight the pandemic.

I always have a sense of the patient in my head. I frequently remind my teams to consider how the chemical we work on will ultimately be used. A colleague recently told me that his young daughter was going to have surgery. It really makes you think about what we do here. It’s critical that we produce all our drugs to the highest possible standard and why we make sure everything is tightly controlled. At the end of the day, even a small issue could have a big impact on that little girl.

Our scientists are always working on developing new generic medicines to help improve the lives of patients. Each year, our R&D facility alone produces around 20 – 25 new APIs. A lot of investment goes into R&D, and it is a big part of our growth area as a business.

Teva has had a significant manufacturing and API manufacturing presence in Europe for decades. For example, in 2018, Teva had 19,000 employees and operated 31 manufacturing, research and development facilities in Europe [4]. From Ireland to Germany, Portugal to Bulgaria, the scale and connectivity of our manufacturing and API production network means that we’re able to produce a lot of the medicines that we sell in Europe within the EU. Teva’s manufacturing facilities in Europe produce 93% of its finished products sold here [5].

Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do

We spend most of our lives at work so we should enjoy the experience. Even with the ‘new normal’, we are still working to maintain the open, collaborative culture that we have spent years building, albeit with social distancing in place. It is important to enjoy work and create an environment where we all feel satisfied and productive.

At Teva, I’ve never felt at a disadvantage as a woman. For me, my family and my children have always been a motivating factor in my career. They are not something that has acted as a block in any way. They drive me to engage more, to work more and to have fun. They make me feel good, and when you feel good, you are more creative in everything you do.

There are still places in the world where women are not equal. It is important that we all, women and men, fight to make sure people are treated the same in all aspects. If things have improved in terms of equality, it’s because, in my opinion, women are doing it for themselves.


Find out more

  • Explore how Teva produces quality products that touch the lives of close to 200 million people every day.

  • We’re hiring! Are you interested in what Romana does, or want to know about other roles at Teva? If so, check out our latest vacancies. 

Footnotes

[1] Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Resilience in EU report

[2] Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Resilience in EU report

[3] Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Resilience in EU report

[4] Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Resilience in EU report

[5] Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Resilience in EU report

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