We’ll get through this together

There is good availability of the medicines needed by Finns. Orion has increased production of several products during the spring.

The exceptional circumstances this spring has meant long days at Orion. “Employees have been working overtime at our plants and we have done everything we can to meet the needs of our customers,” says Satu Ahomäki, SVP, Commercial Operations, at Orion.

Orion's security of supply is ensured by the fact that the company has its own pharmaceutical production in Finland, and it also has its own, internationally significant, production of pharmaceutical raw materials. “Availability of our medicines has been good, so there is no need for anyone to buy more than they need,” says Ahomäki.

Demand for some products has grown significantly during the spring. For example, intensive care sedative has been needed for coronavirus patients. “We have made sure that the needs of different countries have been met and so far, there have been no shortages of products. If necessary, products have been transferred from neighbouring countries if it has not been possible to deliver a product quickly enough from Finland, for example. Despite the various restrictions, lorries transporting pharmaceuticals have been allowed to travel within Europe,” says Ahomäki.

Asthma medications ensured

People with asthma and COPD are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms from coronavirus. And in the spring, the lungs have a lot to deal with due to both allergy symptoms and infections. This has been reflected in the spike in demand for inhalers, for example.

“It is important for asthmatics to ensure treatment balance, and we have done everything we can to make sure the medicines needed to treat asthma and COPD and allergy medicines are readily available,” says Ahomäki.

During the exceptional situation, sales and production have been carrying out even closer cooperation than usual. “We are constantly monitoring the situation, which means we can react quickly.”

Production abroad restarting

Orion also receives products and raw materials from outside Finland. Good inventory levels have protected against major shortages, and at the moment it looks like production in many countries has also restarted.

“The production of pharmaceutical raw materials is concentrated in China and production is said to be starting up again. This should prevent serious product shortages from developing. Of course, we don't have a crystal ball so we don’t know for sure what will happen in the future,” says Ahomäki.


Text: Johanna Paasikangas

4 May, 2020