AstraZeneca is exploring outsourcing of production of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in its medicines. The Guardian

But the pharmaceutical giant it denied newspaper reports that it was to do the same with the whole of its manufacturing. The company has 27 manufacturing sites in 19 countries.

It was reported yesterday that Britain's second-largest drug company plans to become a pure research, development and marketing organisation, and divest its manufacturing within 10 years.

An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said: ‘Fully outsourcing supply and manufacturing activities, as implied in the article, is not part of the AstraZeneca strategy. Our global operations will continue to source activities in-house that are critical to keeping connected with the patient and essential to ensuring patient safety.’

But she admitted the firm would use outsourcing ‘where there is a sound business case’.

AstraZeneca has announced 7,600 job cuts globally, representing 11% of its workforce, mainly in supply and manufacturing.