A sustainable environment for a healthy population (Guest Blog)
There is strong agreement between Bengt Mattson and Andreas Haener, chairs of the Interassociation Industry Pharmaceuticals in the Environment Task Force (IAI PiE TF) – industry has taken big steps over the past decade to combat the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment. Bengt in particular has worked in the industry over the past 30 years, and led the IAI PiE TF since its set up over 15 years ago, ‘The industry has taken strides forward in minimising its emissions and driving environmental sustainability. Every stakeholder concerned must play its fair part and the industry has taken a leading role in this respect’.
Andreas, the environmental risk assessor for Roche, agrees wholeheartedly – ‘a collaborative approach is essential. Look at the IMI PREMIER Project, it brings together world-leading multi-disciplinary partners from the public and private sectors working to contribute to a sustainable future by proactively managing the environmental impact of medicines together. ‘
Industry actions and the extended Environmental Risk Assessment concept
Although research driven pharmaceutical companies do not typically belong to high energy consuming companies, they are at the forefront of numerous ground-breaking initiatives to help reduce CO2 emissions. They are committed to contribute responsibly to progress in mitigating climate change and transitioning to circularity across the medicines life-cycle with regard to CO2 emission reduction targets, specifically addressing increased energy efficiency and lowered energy intensity across our value chains.
- An API based ERA which better reflects the risks posed to environment from patient use
- Conduct robust and risk-based ERAs without compromising environmental protection or patient access to medicines
- Provision for the ability to automatically cross-reference ERA data in marketing authorisation applications
- Provide a mechanism for risk identification, refinement, and management during the MAA evaluation process
- Provide clarity on appropriate well-defined follow-up responsibilities for ERAs with no need for independent and duplicative risk identification and prioritisation processes under different legislations (e.g. Water Framework Directive)
- Updates to the ERA across the life cycle of the API in each medicinal product, with the latest environmental information
- A focus on risk that reduces the burden on regulators (i.e. oversight) and industry
- Reduction in the duplication of testing, delivering improved ERA consistency, proportionate use of testing resource, and bioethical benefits
- Increase the transparency of, and access to, ERA data
ConclusionThe pharmaceutical industry is driven with motivation to advance human health and wellbeing in a sustainable way. Moreover, EFPIA welcomes and embraces the Commission’s emphasis on the Green Agenda and a more sustainable Europe, and is engaging constructively on the roll-out of their policy priorities. There are many risks associated in the whole life-cycle of a medicinal product that impact the environment negatively. Further understanding of these impacts and the interface between the society, health and the environment is the key to guarantee that the pharmaceutical industry can form and execute actions. Next to these initiatives, we as industry should create awareness to the users/patients and support them to act sustainable by properly disposing medicines. This should be a team effort as the overall goal is to create a sustainable environment for a healthy population.