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Quality Control (usually known as QC) is an important part of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device production and supply process. It often means different things in different contexts. For example, QC in a Pharmaceutical manufacturing company often refers to lab-based QC analysis of raw materials, intermediates and finished products, using different chemistry techniques (e.g. HPLC, GS, MS, LC-MS, wet chemistry or other materials characterisation techniques). Within a Biopharmaceutical company, QC may also include Microbiology (e.g. bioburden and endotoxin, testing environmental samples or water samples) or Biochemistry (e.g. ELISA, western blotting and SDS-PAGE). In different settings, QC may refer to other inspections and checks outside of the lab, including checking different components, inspecting packaging materials, and ensuring the correctness of shipments.
QC often works in close collaboration with Quality Assurance (QA). QA is defined as a procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a product or service under development (before work is complete, as opposed to afterwards) meets specified requirements. QA is sometimes expressed together with QC as a single expression, quality assurance and control (QA/QC).
In order to implement an effective QC program, an enterprise must first decide which specific standards the product or service must meet. Then the extent of QC actions must be determined (for example, the percentage of units to be tested from each lot). Next, real-world data must be collected (for example, the percentage of units that fail) and the results reported to management personnel. After this, corrective action must be decided upon and taken (for example, defective units must be repaired or rejected and poor service repeated at no charge until the customer is satisfied). If too many unit failures or instances of poor service occur, a plan must be devised to improve the production or service process and then that plan must be put into action. Finally, the QC process must be ongoing to ensure that remedial efforts, if required, have produced satisfactory results and to immediately detect recurrences or new instances of trouble.
Typical Job Titles include – QC Assistant, QC Scientist, QC Technician, QC Inspector
Key Skills and Experience
- Most QC roles require a degree in an analytical science, whether Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, or similar. However, this is not always essential
- Knowledge of analytical techniques (e.g. HPLC, GC, MS, LC-MS, GC-MS etc)
- Ability to complete and process complex documentation and data
- Knowledge of GMP / GLP
- Ability to stay focused, even if undertaking routine repetitive tasks
Entry-level QC roles generally start in the region of £17k - £18k and move up relatively quickly, especially if you have a degree. QC teams are often divided into levels (1, 2, 3 etc), with clearly defined salary bandings. Generally, an experienced QC Scientist who undertakes project leadership duties (e.g. method development, stability etc) will earn something in the region of £25k - £28k. Then, if you go down the supervisor / manager route, a QC Manager salary might start around the “mid 30s”. QC is not necessarily the most highly paid part of the Life Science industries, but it is varied and very important.
Maidenhead is a large town in the county of Berkshire in the South-East region of England approximately 30 miles from London, 13 from Reading and 32 from Oxford. Other major towns within easy reach of Maidenhead include Slough, Marlow, Henley on Thames and Windsor. Maidenhead enjoys excellent transport connections, being located on the A4 and M4 and having regular trains services into London which means that many residents commute into London, Slough, Reading and other towns.
The three main industries in Maidenhead and surrounding areas are pharmaceuticals & life science, visitor economy and digital technologies. Pharmaceutical and Life Science companies in the Maidenhead area include Abbvie, GSK and Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Biogen Idec, Covance, Inventiv Health, Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus. Maidenhead lies on the “Silicon Corridor” which is home to numerous digital and other technology companies Telecommunications, Cyber Security, Data Centres and Cloud Computing, Big Data companies include Adobe, Hitachi, 3, LexMark and Fujitsu. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is home to many famous attractions including Windsor Castle, Legoland, Royal Ascot and Eton College. It also boasts many high-quality hotels and four restaurants with 3 Michelin stars. As a result, the visitor economy is a major employer in the area.
Famous people from Maidenhead: Geraldine James, actress and Hugh Lofting, author and creator of Dr Dolittle.