CARLSBAD — Generic prescription drugs are the cheapest option and many times, the best for those who need them.
The process to create them, however, takes time and continual monitoring to make sure only the best capsules and tablets make it to market.
Last week, Carlsbad Tech celebrated National Manufacturing Day with two, small private tours as guest viewed their operation from the inside.
“We started out with one product,” said Trevor Whitehead, account executive with Carlsbad Tech. “Ever since then, we’ve sort of progressed. Now, we have about 10-11 products. We’ve expanded the footprint.”
The company has been in the city for 26 years and is part of the YungShin Holding Group based in Taiwan.
Carlsbad Tech, however, currently only produces medication for domestic use, while YungShin covers the Asian markets.
The Carlsbad campus has three buildings in the research center on Farnsworth Court. Carlsbad Tech’s products include anti-viral, cholesterol, blood pressure, anti-inflammatory, diabetic medication, anti-bacterial and anti-biotic.
This year the company added a generic version of Nevirapine, which is a HIV viral inhibitor to help block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase.
In addition, the company launched earlier this year its own optical brand consisting of contact lenses. By the end of the year, Carlsbad Tech will begin manufacturing an eye supplement to help with the health of eyeballs.
“It’s a new venture for Carlsbad Tech and we are diversifying our portfolio,” Whitehead said.
It’s production line and employees who manufacture the drugs, meanwhile, keep the company pumping out the medications at an impressive rate. Those drugs are then sold to some of the largest wholesalers in the country along with entities such as Kaiser Permanente and Walgreens.
“We are trying to expand our business internationally in Chile, Australia and Canada as well,” Whitehead added.
With several million dollars worth of equipment ranging from production to safety and cleaning materials, Carlsbad Tech produces hundreds of thousands of capsules and tablets per day.
Their newest piece of equipment, however, has a maximum of generating one million tablets per hour. What its predecessors produce in 12 to 16 hours, the new tool does in four, explained Production Supervisor Alan Chueh.
When it was being tested at full capacity, Chuen and Richard Chilson, a production team leader, could feel the vibrations reverberating through the wall into their offices.
Although the machine produces mass quantities, it took nearly nine months for it to come on line, Chueh said.
It took three months to deliver it from Germany followed by six months of qualifying testing under Federal Drug Administration regulations.
“We had to undergo test protocols before we submit to the FDA for approval,” Chueh said.
Chilson said from start to finish, the manufacturing process is a daunting, calculating task. It takes hours and employees are diligent in the process, especially cleaning the equipment.
From the drugs’ liquid beginnings to becoming powder, each step is closely monitored by weight to make sure each capsule or tablet meets federal standards.
There are difference processes for capsules and tablets, but most are granulated, heated, milled and blended before being sprayed to protect human organs and imprinted to identify the medication. Capsules are packed into protective casings, then transported to bottling where hundreds of pills fill plastic containers.