Who can legally manufacture a cannabis-based drug or a bubblegum-flavoured aspirin? The Specials Laboratory is allowed to do so, making medicines in its own labs and supplying them to pharmacists, doctors and dentists. The products are used to treat patients who fail to respond to normal prescribed medicine. Based in Northumberland, the firm was set up in 1999 by Fiona Cruickshank and Brian Dougherty. Its sales have grown 74% a year from £1.1m in 2002 to £5.7m in 2005, though margins are tight.

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Company details
CompanyThe Specials Laboratory
ActivityPharmaceuticals manufacturer
Annual sales rise over 3 years73.56%
Latest sales £000s5,750

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure