Our History

You might be surprised to learn that we've been around longer than the NHS, and that's going back a long way!

  • We can trace our UK history back to Yorkshire in the 1930s when we were known as APS, or Approved Prescription Services
  • In 1996 APS Berk (as the company was known then) was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, a world leader in generic medicines
  • Our manufacturing site in Runcorn became part of Teva through the acquisition of IVAX Pharmaceuticals in 2006
  • Our research site in Larne became part of Teva through the acquisition of Actavis in 2016
  • In 2021 Teva celebrates 120 years since its founding, with a mission focused on being a global leader in generics and biopharmaceuticals, improving the lives of patients around the world

Teva’s history in the UK

You may not have heard of us before today, but for more than 80 years we’ve been making and providing medicines to people all across the UK. We started out as a small business making a small number of medicines and remedies, now we’re part of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

toggle more information on Teva’s history in the UK


We can trace our UK history back to Yorkshire in the 1930s when we were known as APS, or Approved Prescription Services. The business was founded by 2 women, (which would have been highly unusual back then) Mrs Margaret Galloway and Mrs Nora Sarsby, they opened the first premises in Bradford manufacturing pharmaceuticals.

Mr Walton bought out the 2 original founders and ceased trading as APS, but continued to market and sell APS products through Kempac, his own company.


In the 1940s Mr Wallace Hemmingway joined as Company Secretary in Batley based Kempac, as did Mr Stanley North in the role of Dispatch Manager. These two men became the driving force behind the revitalisation of APS.

Kempac's focus shifted from proprietary medicines and household remedies to the production of saccharine tablets which were in high demand during the war years because of the rationing of sugar.


The National Health Service came into existence on 5 July 1948. It was the first universal health system to be available to all and financed from taxation. It was founded on the fundamental principle that healthcare would be free at the point of access.

Since then, the NHS has gone through many changes, improvements, updates and modernisation processes. No-one back in 1948 would have been able to foresee the way in which the NHS developed, succeeded, pioneered and expanded.

Today Teva is one of the largest suppliers of medicines to the NHS and as you'd expect the NHS is our largest customer.


Amber Pharmaceuticals Limited bought the profitable Kempac operation, and with the increased availability of sugar driving down sales of saccharin, Amber Pharmaceuticals refocussed the production on own versions of popular branded medicines.


In the same year as the charge of one shilling was introduced for prescriptions, Amber Pharmaceuticals decided to close down the Batley factory, but 3 men from the pre Amber Pharmaceuticals era joined forces with 2 new investors to raise the capital needed to purchase the Batley plant and machinery from Amber Pharmaceuticals.

With the APS name still owned by Mr Walton from when Kempac purchased the APS business, the new phoenix company was reborn 16 years after it was originally founded and called APS once again.


Over a decade of successful trading and growth saw APS outgrowing the capacity of the Horncastle Street factory and in 1966, APS bought new premises in Whitcliffe Road, Cleckheaton.


APS enjoyed decades of steady growth through the production and sales of generic medicines, producing an average of 600 million tablets a year from the factory in West Yorkshire.


Meanwhile, over the Pennines in Cheshire, Steripak was established in 1980 by John & Ernest Prebble and Schering AG with ten employees and one production machine. It started off making wound irrigation bottles for hospital use and grew from there to produce a range of sterile pharmaceutical products.


In the 1980s, the generic pharmaceutical industry was hit by a price war as rival companies battled to grab a larger slice of the market for themselves. 

APS continued to develop new improved drug presentations, such as film coated or sustained release pharmaceutical products.


1985 saw both Applied Prescription Services' 50th anniversary and the government introduced the 'Selected List Scheme' which encouraged GPs to prescribe fewer brand name drugs and to switch instead to the cheaper unbranded generics to save the NHS millions of pounds a year.

If you fast forward to today, more than two-thirds of the medicines dispensed by the NHS are generics, yet they cost less than one third of the NHS drugs bill. 01 Generic medicines save the NHS more than £13 billion in just England and Wales, compared to the cost if their branded equivalents had been dispensed. 02

As one of the leading generic medicines suppliers in the UK, Teva was responsible for £2.78 billion of these savings in 2020 - that’s the equivalent of more than 114,000 new nurses or just under 100,000 first year junior doctors. 03

Learn more about generics


Waverley Pharmaceuticals acquired Steripak from Schering AG in 1987 and the first batch of products was produced in October with 34 people employed. Within two years, the workforce based in Runcorn, Cheshire had increased to over 200.


Berk, a success in its own right selling a range of branded and unbranded generics, merged with APS in 1991, creating APS/Berk, one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the UK.


In 1992 Steripak was bought by the IVAX Corporation of Miami (including the site in Runcorn, Cheshire) and becomes part of the Norton Healthcare Group of Companies specialising in generics.


In 1996 APS/Berk was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd from Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Holdings Ltd. For Teva this represented a valuable entry into the UK market. For APS/Berk, Teva had the size and scale of an international pharmaceutical company to support the activities in the UK and to continue to deliver value to the NHS.


Norton Healthcare Group changes its name to IVAX Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd in 2001.


In 2004, APS/Berk updated its name to Teva UK Limited.


Manufacturing in Runcorn moved to its current home in Preston Brook in 2004, thanks to a significant investment in its sterile manufacturing facilities.  The investment brought with it advanced capabilities for Blow-Fill-Seal production and the development of respiratory nebulisation products, which are important in helping people suffering from severe asthma or pulmonary disease.

The basic concept of Blow-Fill-Seal is that a container is formed, filled, and sealed in a continuous process without human involvement, in a sterile enclosed area inside a machine.

Learn more from Magdelena Pojda, Team Leader in Blow-Fill-Seal Operations at Teva's Runcorn site.

Read Magdelena' story


In 2006 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries acquired the Ivax Corporation, bringing together Teva's portfolio of generic medicines with a wider variety of products and new capabilities in respiratory care and branded pharmaceuticals in therapy areas such as Central Nervous System and oncology.

The sterile manufacturing site at Runcorn becomes part of Teva through the acquisition of IVAX Pharmaceuticals.


In 2009 we moved our commercial head office to Castleford, West Yorkshire. "Ridings Point" is a modern logistics centre, complete with fantastic offices and comprehensive facilities for our employees.

Our distribution centre is full of every kind of automated technology you'd expect from an organisation the size of Teva. Its streamlined systems make sure our medicine packs, boxes and pallets arrive safely with the pharmaceutical wholesaler and ultimately get to pharmacies and patients.

With 25,000 storage spaces covering the equivalent of three football pitches, it's an impressive sight. It was built to the highest pharmaceutical standards of Good Manufacturing Practice, and it shows our commitment to investing in the availability and sustainability of medicines.


Teva Runcorn adds additional capacity to its site, including Pre-Filled Syringe manufacturing capabilities as its range of products developed and manufactured here in the UK increases.

Learn more about what it's like working at Teva Runcorn from Adrien Lamo, Process Engineer in New Product Development.

Read Adrien's story


Teva's Harlow site - home to many of our Medical, Legal, Regulatory and Marketing teams, moves into new offices to accommodate growing teams.

Our UK based Regulatory Affairs teams are highly regarded within Teva and provide a Centre of Excellence for Regulatory Affairs for Teva's global business.

Learn more about working in Regulatory Affairs at Teva from Eugene Austin, EU Regulatory Affairs Manager.

Read Eugene's story


Teva Runcorn invests further in Sterile R&D and Sterile Device Technology with the expansion to create a sister site close to the manufacturing facilities, dedicated to the development of sterile devices, complete with hi-tech research and laboratory facilities.

Discover more about Sterile Device Technology from our expert designer: Mike Smith works on the development of medical devices and combination products, such as auto-injectors and pre-filled syringes, which dispense drugs into the body.

Read Mike's story

Further investment in Teva Runcorn creates a state-of-the-art training facility which is the home of Teva's Sterile Training Academy which provides training programs in the philosophy and practice of all aspects of sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing.

480 million doses of medicine and counting… Go behind the scenes at Teva's UK sterile manufacturing facility in this video.


Teva acquired Actavis Generics in 2016, significantly expanding Teva’s generic product portfolio, R&D capabilities, product pipeline and global operational network.

For the UK it significantly increased our consumer healthcare range adding well known household names, such as Sudocrem® and Infacol® to our portfolio, as well as adding to our manufacturing and R&D sites with an additional facility at Larne, Northern Ireland, which focuses on branded and generic developments in medical implants and intrauterine devices.


The NHS staged its Health and Care Innovation Expo in September and Teva was delighted to support the two-day event as headline sponsors and co-creators of the HealthTech Zone.

The NHS Expo in Manchester was a unique celebration of innovation, enterprise and collaboration, bringing together NHS and social care leaders, commissioners, industry influencers and many more who can help the NHS implement its future plans to transform the UK’s 70-year-old healthcare system.

We shared our new logo and our new updated visual identity. The new brand is a symbol of everything we stand for and it showcases our renewed focus on the pharmacies we work with and their impact on patients; our care for patients with multiple chronic conditions; and the services and products we offer to carers to try to help make their lives a little easier.


During the development of the new brand identity, Teva researchers spoke to more than 1,000 patients from across the UK about how best to support them in taking control of their own health and wellbeing. As a result, Teva has launched a new digital platform in the UK called Life Effects™, the platform is shaped by patients for patients, and shines a light on their real-world experiences and stories.

Life Effects™ offers information, insight and inspiration for people living with one or more chronic conditions. Developed in collaboration with patients, it looks at how health and illness affects the lives of patients and those around them in a profound way that goes much further than the biology of illness and treatment.


2020 was the year that changed everything. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we have strived to provide an uninterrupted supply of medicines for the millions of patients we serve around the world.

Our research, manufacturing and distribution facilities continued to operate to meet the demand for essential medicines. We also worked with our colleagues across Teva globally to do all that we can to ensure our supply chain continued uninterrupted and to deal with any issues as swiftly as possible if they arose.

We were also in regular discussions with government departments, both directly and through industry bodies, to provide a strong voice encouraging them to do all that they can to keep medicines moving for patients throughout this crisis.

Looking back now, it felt like an incredible achievement to have made it through 2020 and remarkable year in the world's history.


During 2020 we've been supporting the NHS and healthcare professionals on the frontline of the UK's Covid Response.

Like many, we’ve been in awe of the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who are managing the COVID-19 crisis and keeping us safe.

As a small way of expressing our thanks, we’ve donated more than 100,000 tubs of Sudocrem® to the NHS to help frontline staff deal with irritation and soreness on their faces and ears caused by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).


By April 2020, about half of the world's population was under some form of lockdown, in a bid to protect lives and health services.

As parents, patients and caregivers themselves, the pandemic has challenged the lives of our employees in countless ways. We have been keeping our employees’ safety and well-being front of mind from day one, immediately reducing the number of people in our facilities to only those deemed essential and adhering to local social distancing recommendations.

We may have been forced to keep a distance from each other, but we all pulled together to get through the difficult times.


We're proud to have been named ‘UK Generics Manufacturer of the Year’ for the 18th year in a row at the 2020 Pharmacy Business Awards by readers of Pharmacy Business Magazine. 

The Pharmacy Business Awards showcase the best community pharmacy has to offer. It was an honour to virtually 'share the stage' with inspiring community pharmacists from across the country, and we heard some amazing stories from pharmacists who have gone above and beyond to deliver patient care and solutions into their communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.


Teva Runcorn was involved in work to assist the UK’s COVID-19 testing program: Equipping COVID-19 test kits with swabs that remain moist until diagnostics can be run at a laboratory proved to be a challenge in the UK, but our colleagues didn’t hesitate to step up when the NHS reached out to UK industry for help.

A saline solution that has been manufactured on site for 30 years has been repurposed and modified and now we can produce millions of doses to support the UK's testing program.

All the way through 2020 and 2021, as the pandemic peaked in wave after wave, our colleagues in the UK and all around the world worked tirelessly to ensure an uninterrupted supply of essential medicines. This video shows our appreciation for their dedication.


Teva celebrates 120 years since its founding, with a mission focused on being a global leader in generics and biopharmaceuticals, improving the lives of patients around the world.

Much has changed in healthcare since Teva was established over a century ago. But what has remained consistent is our deeply-rooted desire to offer accessible and innovative ways to help people live healthier lives. From our humble beginnings, to shaping the worldwide generic medicine industry, we are now embarking on a new biopharmaceutical journey.


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    British Generics Manufacturers Association https://www.britishgenerics.co.uk/about-generics.html - Accessed August 2021

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    British Generics Manufacturers Association https://www.britishgenerics.co.uk/about-generics.html - Accessed August 2021

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Date of preparation: October 2021
Reference: COB-GB-NP-00052