R&D Pharmaceutical Enterprises Advocate to Reduce Carbon Footprint of Drug Use


Reducing waste and discarding properly, R&D pharmaceutical enterprises advocate drug use in a low-carbon and environment-friendly way  


 [October 20, 2010, Beijing] To replace ordinary incandescent lamps with energy-saving lamp bulbs, store vegetable-washing water for flushing toilet, carry shopping bag while going out for shopping, the awareness of energy saving and environmental protection has penetrated over all the aspects of peoples life. However, ordinary people have less understanding about the concept of "low carbon for drug use". On October 20, 2010, the 13th Environment, Health and Safety Working Group Meeting was held by R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee of CAEFI (RDPAC). The delegates from various member companies have not only exchanged the "drug life cycle low-carbon management" concept and practical experience but also called on ordinary people to make joint efforts with pharmaceutical enterprises and strive to achieve "energy-saving, low carbon, safety and environmental protection" in various links of drug life cycle.  
 "R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises strive to achieve low emission and zero pollution in drug R&D, production, sale and recovery. Ordinary people like us can also make our own contributions to energy saving and carbon emission amid drug life cycle," said Mr. Weng Fuyi who has engaged in work concerning environment, health and safety of pharmaceutical enterprises for more than forty years. It is not easy for China to realize the target of 40%-45% reduction of carbon dioxide emission intensity by year 2020. All the sectors and individuals should make strenuous efforts to realize such target.
 By introducing low-carbon environment-friendly concept in the process of research and development, emission reduction and pollution control in the production process is not a trouble for R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises any longer. According to Mr. Ni Yejun, who is in charge of EHS with a plant in Shanghai, one of RDPAC member companies, "for innovative drugs made by us currently, we have considered the issues on saving energy consumption and reducing pollution and avoided problems of high energy consumption and high pollution from the source. In this way, the stress of energy saving and pollution control has been alleviated in the production process of drugs." Besides prevention in the source, various RDPAC member companies are also active in pollution prevention and control, energy-saving and emission reduction projects in plant areas. Many enterprises have installed various solar facilities so as to provide thermal energy for production, supply lighting power for plant areas, reduce use of non-renewable resources and decrease carbon emissions; recover fire test water for reuse; use treated wastewater for watering lawn etc. Only by relying on these energy-saving equipments, some enterprises can reduce carbon emissions by more than 40%. 
 "Of course, we need huge investment for improvement of design, process and facilities, but such investment is significant and indispensable for sustainable development. Our commitment to the communities in which our plants locate is reflected in such tangible investments. After all, we are living in such an environment and residing nearby," said Mr. Ni.
 In fact, "implementation of energy saving and environmental protection in the entire life cycle of drugs" has not been a fresh concept amid R&D-based pharmaceutical industry, but it is rarely known by ordinary people. The life cycle of drugs refers to the whole process from R&D to the end of life, including raw materials extraction, development, clinical trial, marketing, patient use, recycle and other processes. "We can say proudly, the global R&D-based pharmaceutical industry has passed through the development of over 40 years, succeeded in taking off the cap of high pollution and energy consumption," Mr. Weng said, "how to achieve low carbon and environmental protection for patients in drug use and discarding link has not been paid with sufficient attention by the public." That is to say, although the innovative drugs used by everyone have been low-carbon and environment-friendly drugs brought by low-carbon R&D and environmentally friendly production, the energy consumption and pollution in the whole life cycle for a piece of pill can be reduced to a greater extent by reasonable use and proper discarding of ordinary people.
 As a matter of fact, low-carbon drug use is not so difficult if such three links as purchase for use, storage and discarding are grasped. First, many patients hope to prescribe drugs for an additional course of treatment. Actually, these drugs may be wasted to a great extent. If the diseases have not been recovered within the drug course of treatment, the patients had better seek medical advices again and ask doctors to continue drug administration or adjust drug use. Second, storage of drugs at home should choose sealed containers and place them in a dry (50-70% humidity) and cool (no more than 20℃) place keeping out of sunlight. Drugs should not be stored in mirror cabinet of the bathroom and glass cabinet exposed to direct sunlight. Except the drugs which should be stored under low temperature if the instructions have clearly been indicated, such as antibiotics and biological products etc., most drugs need not be stored in refrigerator. Finally, as for discarding of expired drugs, ordinary people should do their best to reduce pollution. Except those drugs containing pethidine hydrochloride and morphine sulfate which should be poured into water pools or toilets, most drugs are suitable for discarding with domestic garbage. The proper way is to mix the drugs to be discarded with coffee powder, cat litter activated carbon powder and sawdust etc. which can cover the drugs. The mixture can be filled into air-tight containers and can use sealed plastic bags; if bottles are used, they can be wrapped with black electric tape and cast off with domestic garbage finally.
 "Many western countries are studying how to recycle drugs in a safe and harmless way. As R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises, we also hope to introduce more experience to China. From R&D and production to use and discarding of drugs, compound will be synthesized and finally returned to the environment. R&D institutions, production enterprises and the general patients are closely linked together by this invisible chain, drug life cycle," Mr. Liu Zhenxian, executive president of RDPAC, "R&D-based pharmaceutical enterprises not only commit themselves to developing and producing effective drugs, but also are active advocates of sustainable development, carrying out into the R&D, production and sale and embodying to the efforts of the existing enterprises in energy saving, emission reduction, pollution prevention and control. The investment of RDPAC member companies upon energy saving, emission reduction and environmental protection has been increased year by year. The head offices of many member companies directly assign special fund to low-carbon projects of plants inChina. We also expect the government to perfect the policy system and encourage the responsible drug manufacturers from drug sale, use and other processes."




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