Stephen Clarke - Qualified Person and Quality Manager - The Mentholaum Company Limited

Issued: Wed, 25 Nov 2020 14:48:33 GMT

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I was once the “Random person caught in a snowstorm” interviewed for the news

Tell us about your careers journey so far


I left Caledonian University with a BSc in Chemistry with Information Technology and Instrumentation, because I wanted to start working more than I wanted to continue an academic career. I worked on a small independent food lab for 4 years, performing the tests that establish the values that you can see on the side of packets. I then joined a company who make artificial DNA and Tissue Culture media for 5 years before moving into Pharmaceuticals for the first time. I worked with a company involved in Clinical Trials for 6 years, then a company working with cutting edge anti-cancer treatments (Antibody Drug Conjugates) for 2 years, then 2 years at the company that makes about 70% of the worlds penicillin, before moving to my current role with the company that makes Deep Heat and Deep Relief for muscle pain. In January I’m moving to a company making vaccines, and hopefully a vaccine against CVD19.


What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Physics was my favourite subject because you can see it in action all around you, from rainbows to electronics to satellites. 

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

To be able to release batches of medicine for sale (which is what I do) you need to have a University degree in a relevant Chemistry, Biology of Pharmaceuticals and then sit a separate exam (QP Viva Voce) to show people acting on behalf of the government that you are capable of making the correct decisions.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

That would have to be knowing that you play a part in keeping people alive, when you work with life saving medicines.

What is a normal day in your role like?

It largely revolves around reviewing the documentation that is produced when you make, pack, test, label and store a medicine. If everything has been done acceptably I can release the batch, if not I need to reject it and the company loses lots of money.


Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? Please share links to relevant resources.

Step 1 – (Instruction writing) Write or find a recipe for fruit scones and a specification for how you want the end product to look (Height, width, number of raisins present)

Step 2 - (Manufacturing) Manufacture a batch of fruit scones using the recipe

Step 3 – (Quality Assurance) Check the recipe to ensure that all of the steps were followed correctly

Step 4 – (Quality Control) Measure the scones against the specification, then eat them to determine success

Step 5 – (Continuous Improvement) Determien what you could do better next time, and how you would document the improvement so you don’t forget it for next time.

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