Pharmaceutical Enterprises are Prepared to Green


[October 25, 2011 Beijing] At the 15th Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Working Group Meeting held by R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee of CAEFI (RDPAC), the delegates participating in the meeting made a unanimous proposal that pharmaceutical enterprises should take a lead in running green concept through the whole product life cycle and protect the environment upon we depend for survival to the utmost extent while carrying out R&D and production of drugs for curing the sickness.


The pharmaceutical industry should shoulder dual responsibilities in improving the health of the patients and protecting the environment.  

The production of many drugs, especially drug substance, has impacts upon environment. Meanwhile, for production of the same weight products, more raw materials are usually needed in pharmaceutical industry. In pharmaceutical sector, we usually require 100kgraw materials, even over1,000kgraw materials on occasions for making effective constituent of1kgdrug substance or drug. Moreover, due to higher consumption in water and energy, pollutants may be generated during the production of several common raw materials and intermediate products. Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry has the more need to show its initiative in introducing green concept, reducing the use of raw materials through process optimization. "Green Product" is not an appealing tag but systematic implementation of green concept.  


The pharmaceutical industry is a special sector. To save the mankinds life and improve their health is its prime responsibility. However, if it jeopardizes the environment and mankinds health during the drug production, it is incomplete for the pharmaceutical industry to fulfill its prime responsibility.


Implementation of green strategy can also bring remarkable economic benefits

During the practice process of green concept, many projects have huge investment but long return period. On short terms, the cost is also higher than the original mode, but on long terms, the benefits for implementation of green strategy are much more than the investment. For instance, the investment return period for use of renewable energy is usually as long as decades, but it can still achieve cost saving in a longer period. In the meantime, less raw materials, energy and water used by enterprises will generate less waste, which also results in remarkable economic benefits. For example, Ipsen China canceled its middle package for Smecta, a drug for treatment of diarrhea, plus optimized packing materials and stacking way, which resulted in saving of paper 77.93 tons, wood 36.9 tons, reduced transportation oil consumption 50,000 liters, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 140 tons plus transportation costs reduced therefrom. "We have put in the cost of 1.4 million yuan, but we can save 1.9 million yuan. This project is outstanding in both environmental protection benefit and economic benefit. While we receive the benefits, we can protect environment and return to the society, which is just our objective we have been pursuing," said Han Jiandong, EHS manager of Ipsen China.


Through process improvement, Johnson & Johnson has made the raw materials used for a drug named as Simponi for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis to be reduced by 35%; as such drug needs cold-chain transport, the company applied reusable refrigerated external package. The weight is 50% of the similar conventional package. In this way, it can reduce consumption of 42,000 cubic feet of foam plastic, which saves both material costs and transportation costs.


Education is a key to realize green strategy

Education is an important means to implement green strategy, which includes two aspects: science education and behavior education. Science education is to train the personnel involving in product development process and make them understand how to produce green products in a better way. It is more difficult for behavior education; nevertheless, once it is successful, it will have a significant result. Behavior education is aimed at making people to understand that their own daily behaviors play a decisive role in creating a sustainable world. Only when the green products are recognized by the public can the enterprises have an incentive to further tap "green potential".  


"Presently, RDPAC member companies are taking different ways to help people build green concept in working sites or at home. We hope everyone to consider how to recycle the materials and minimize the waste, including reuse of chemicals in labs or reuse of plastic bottles at home. Green concept can be penetrated through all aspects of daily life. The stronger peoples awareness of green concept, the greater achievement we can make in target of sustainability. A series of community activities launched by pharmaceutical enterprises have achieved good results in this regard," said Mr. Weng Fuyi, special adviser of RDPAC Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Working Group.


Mr. Zhuo Yongqing, Managing Director of RDPAC, pointed out that there remains a heavy responsibility and a long way to go to realize a greener world, especially for pharmaceutical sector. However, what we have achieved so far shows that our direction is right. The pharmaceutical industry has been committing itself to improving the health status of people around the world. Our concern to sustainability and green strategy has been continuously upgraded as this is what we have realized for a long time and one of our key duties.

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