5 Ways To Make The Pharma Industry Greener

The pharmaceutical industry made a big step towards sustainability lately and it continues taking the green path, even though establishing innovations might seem challenging. There are a number of environmental solutions that can help to reduce the negative impact of the industry on flora and fauna. Here are 5 ways to make the pharmaceutical industry greener.


1. Eco-friendly package materials

The production of sustainable eco-packaging for medications that must be protected from external influence and carefully preserved might be a challenge. However, there are efficient measures that may help to reduce the negative impact on the environment. 
Due to pharmaceutical technology magazine(1) around 80% of hard medicines presented on the European market are wrapped up in blister packs. The roll-out of recyclable blister packs might be helpful in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Replacement of the hazardous materials by recyclable ones is a big step towards climate change mitigation. As it reduces waste, the launch of a blister laminate might be a solution. 
Among the efficient measures there are also usage of solvent-free colors and varnishes, as well as elimination or quantity reduction of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that still is a frequently used component in package manufacturing. The refuse to use PVC bottles and trays and reduction of PVC in blister packaging is an efficient way to ‘green’ the packaging

2. Waste management

To reduce packaging waste, a number of eco-initiatives encouraging proper package disposal may be launched. A mail-back program is an efficient way to collect old inhalers or syringes.


3. Reducing toxicity of a drug's formula

In Europe, a predominant majority (around 80%) of APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) released into the environment is the result of natural patient use. To minimize negative impact on the environment it’s essential to reduce the toxicity of a drug's formula. For instance, agricultural products or the wastes of other processes may be chosen as a source of renewable feedstocks. Among the measures to be taken there also is the replacement of stoichiometric reagents by catalysts.

4. Limiting API concentration 

Due to the environmental risk assessment (ERA) the potential impacts of the APIs released into the environment may be explored and the safe concentration may be measured. The way to minimize negative impact on the environment and to be absolutely sure that even the most sensitive organismes wouldn’t be exposed to APIs is to set the safe level several times lower than predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) generated by the ERA.


5.Increasing public awareness on the prudent use of medicines

Due to the recent research estimating patients’ awareness of unused medicine disposal(2), only a small percentage of patients received the instruction on disposal practices for extra, unused medications. Approximately 10% of APIs released in the environment come from unused medicines and improper disposal of medicines. Increasing the patients’ awareness could be a big step towards the solution of the problem of the imprudent use of pharmaceuticals. It’s essential to develop guidelines and information materials on the prudent use of pharmaceuticals carefully. They may be useful for the public as well as for healthcare professionals to consult patients.

Join the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Packaging Congress 2021 to discuss the ongoing trends, technologies and environmental solutions in the pharmaceutical industry in Berlin on 28-29 June.

We provide 2 speaker slots for the experts with exclusive case-studies on sustainability in manufacturing and packaging of pharmaceuticals. Use an opportunity to share your expertise in Session 6. Eco-friendliness and Pharma packaging records with: 

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