For years the pharmaceutical heritage of Huddersfield was hard to forget.

After all, the town’s football stadium was named after local drugs firm Galpharm.

The company has since upped sticks to Nottingham and Linthwaite cough medicine specialists Thornton and Ross are the highest profile medicine firms in these parts.

But did you know Huddersfield Royal Infirmary has its own unit producing gallons of creams, liquids for injections and a host of other key potions and pills?

The facility has been there more than 50 years and is not only producing pharmaceuticals for Huddersfield but for hospitals across Yorkshire and beyond.

The site only produces so called “unlicensed medicines”, which are typically bespoke products requested by doctors or chemists or children’s versions of licensed adult drugs.

But it also makes mainstream drugs, including the adrenaline used to treat boxers’ cuts.

Sheffield fighter Carl Froch’s recent win over George Groves at Wembley went ahead thanks to the team at the Huddersfield Pharmacy Specials (HPS).

Carl Froch v George Groves's IBF & WBA Super Middleweight Title fight at Wembley Stadium in May
Carl Froch v George Groves's IBF & WBA Super Middleweight Title fight at Wembley Stadium in May
 

Manager of the site, Sarah Clenton said: “The chemist that had been trying to get hold of the adrenaline found our website and contacted us on the Thursday before the fight.

“It’s what you dab on to the cuts and it was at the side of the ring.

“They’d tried several other manufacturers and sources and hadn’t been able to get it in time.

“We made it here and transported it down by courier on the Saturday.”

The site batch produces 300 products and also re-packages externally produced drugs in more appropriate sizes on a case by case basis, for instance a patient that only needs two specialist pills instead of a pack of 30.

Another example would be if a patient that couldn’t swallow needed a drug that only came in pill form made as a liquid.

“Requests that come in from individual chemists are endless,” said Sarah.

 

“We make creams and ointments, oral liquids, eye drops and injectables.

“If a patient can’t take a pill we can make a liquid, or maybe do a sugar free version or things like that.

“Sometimes we do it for people who are lactose intolerant.

“We also often respond to national shortages of certain drugs.

“Last year and the year before there was a drug essential for heart surgery that the licensed manufacturer couldn’t make.

“We made it here and kept most of the heart units in the country going.

“The Department for Health has also designated this unit to make paediatric flu drugs for if there’s a pandemic.”

Quality control manager and chemist, Andrew Myers, said: “Any request is approved by our pharmacist first.

“He’s got expertise in formulation, what can go with what, and what things are incompatible.”

HPS is now celebrating its best year ever in terms of turnover, profit and volume of drugs made.

Said Sarah: “We know all our costs, which is unusual for an NHS unit, and all our surplus goes back into the hospital Trust.

“If you buy something from us, all the money stays in the NHS.

“If you buy something from a commercial company it’s going out of the NHS.”

Factfile

Pharmacy specials have been manufactured at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary since 1964.

Production was in the basement of the hospital but relocated across the road to the new purpose built facility in 2008.

The site now employs 53 staff and produces more than 21,000 syringes of drugs a year.

The packing department is on track to have handled over half-a-million packs of tablets, capsules, injections, creams and ointments in 2014.

A further 160,000 units of oral and topical liquids, creams and ointments are made each year