Ash Stevens: Developing Chemicals Proudly Made in the USA

8/24/11Follow @XconomyDET

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ingredient chemicals. Out of that 100, three belong to Ash Stevens.

“We’re up there with Pfizer, Merck, Roche, Eli Lilly … I think that’s pretty cool,” Munk says.

Also pretty cool, in Munk’s opinion, is the fact that his company’s chemicals are manufactured in the United States, where they’re subject to a level of quality control that can be missing in foreign operations.

“It’s very difficult to inspect active ingredients,” Munk says. “As a patient, I’m very concerned that about 80 percent of our active ingredients are being made in India and China. As an American, I find it a travesty that we aren’t making more active ingredients here.”

He points to the Heparin scandal of 2008, where dozens of Americans died after receiving injections from a tainted batch of the popular heart drug that was traced back to a facility in China. The result was a massive recall by the drug’s maker, Baxter International.

“What happened with that batch of Heparin is that a group of Chinese scientists decided to use a cheap, hard-to-detect ingredient that looked like Heparin,” Munk says. “It wasn’t an accident, it was willful contamination.”

One could speculate that anxiety over a future similar scandal originating in an overseas facility has led an increasing number of pharmaceutical companies to seek out the services of Ash Stevens.

“We broke a sales record in 2008, then we beat it in 2009, then we beat that record in 2010, and I think we’ll beat it again in 2011,” Munk says.

The company’s employees now number 75, and that count is growing. Just this week, the company finalized a loan for a $12 million expansion at its Riverview facility. Ash Stevens plans to finally close its Detroit office and consolidate operations in Riverview within the next five years.

“We’re very happy to be growing in Wayne County,” says Munk, who previously worked for Allergan in California. “We find Michigan to be a very good place for the kind of business we’re in. There are a lot of good customers out there for our work.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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