Janssen Pharmaceutica and Filliers Distillery make disinfectant hand gel

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Pharmaceutical company Janssen Pharmaceutica and gin distillery Filliers Distillery are making disinfectant hand gel from Sunday. They will distribute it among the Belgian hospitals.

A shortage of disinfectant is imminent in Belgian hospitals. That is why Janssen Pharmaceutica will be making hand gel in its factory in Geel as of Sunday. Up until now, no hand gel has been made there.

“In consultation with the government and various university hospitals, Janssen investigated how to meet the acute demand for disinfectant hand liquid as quickly as possible,” the company wrote in a press release. “Because Janssen does not currently produce disinfectant hand liquid, it was decided to start a new production process at the chemical production site in Geel.”

5,000 liters

Janssen will start producing batches of 5,000 liters from Sunday, in 10 and 20 liter barrels. If everything goes according to plan, the disinfectant hand liquid can be delivered from Tuesday to UZ Gent and UZ Leuven, after which it will be further distributed within the hospital and care network.

The company receives free ethanol from chemical company Tereos. Gin distiller Filliers will also be making hand gels with its own ethanol and with other raw materials supplied by Janssen Pharmaceutica.


In Belgium, about 20,000 liters of disinfectant hand liquid is currently required to meet the demand of various healthcare institutions, says Janssen. In several hospitals, the available reserves will be exhausted next week if no action is taken.

The Walloon distillery Grandes Distilleries de Charleroi is also supporting hospitals. “We want to supply the hospitals with 2,500 liters of hand gel, which we’re making with our own ethanol,” says CEO Henry Symons. “We have already delivered (or will deliver on Monday) to ten hospitals. These are Walloon and Brussels hospitals, but we are also open to questions from Flanders.”

Hospitals don’t have to pay for the gel. Delivery is also free.

This article was originally published in Dutch by De Tijd on 22 March 2020.