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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical companies unite: New group spearheads sustainability initiative in medicines industry

Health Industry Hub | June 13, 2023 |

Pharma News: A newly formed coalition is set to revolutionise Australia’s pharmaceutical industry’s approach to sustainability. Led by AstraZeneca and comprised of 11 other pharma companies, the Medicines Australia Medical Sustainability Group (MAMSG) aims to drive substantial changes across the sector and establish it as a leader in environmental sustainability.

Remarkably, several local pharmaceutical and medical technology companies have already taken the lead in sustainability efforts. Companies like Sanofi, Roche, Viatris, AbbVie, Philips, and Cochlear have demonstrated their commitment to a more sustainable future locally. Additionally, an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) guide is being developed to boost sustainability practices and foster increased investor confidence and funding in the biotech sector.

The newly established MAMSG aims to build on these existing efforts and ensure that sustainability becomes an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry’s operations. Its inaugural meeting, scheduled to take place in Macquarie Park, will focus on discussing packaging waste, including the environmental impact of blister packs.

The group also plans to hear from The Hon Ged Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, at this meeting on how to collaborate with the government to achieve tangible sustainability outcomes. Minister Kearney recently opened the consultation on Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy on 8 June, acknowledging the World Health Organisation’s warning that climate change is the greatest threat to public health in the 21st century.

“We’re listening to the experts and advocacy groups, and importantly the voices of First Nations communities as we develop the National Health and Climate Strategy. Climate change poses a range of threats to our health and wellbeing, from more frequent extreme weather events to changes in disease profiles as well as food and water insecurity. I urge everyone concerned about how climate change will affect our health to read the National Health and Climate Strategy consultation paper and provide feedback,” Minister Kearney said.

Expressing enthusiasm for the new initiative, Medicines Australia CEO Liz de Somer commended the efforts of the Association’s members in driving sustainability changes across the pharmaceutical industry. She emphasised the opportunity for industry leaders to unite and spearhead transformative change in healthcare, particularly regarding sustainability.

AstraZeneca Country President, Ben McDonald, shared his pride with the industry’s collective push for change, stating, “Many pharmaceutical companies are already doing a number of things in the sustainability space. Coming together as an industry we are able to share ideas, but also drive the necessary change in some of the more challenging areas in this space.”

Interestingly, healthcare professionals are also leading the charge in ESG and sustainability efforts. Australian cardiologists have recently unveiled innovative solutions to combat climate change through simple, cost-effective changes in their practices. Through a comprehensive review encompassing imaging, testing, monitoring, medication prescribing, and surgical interventions, the authors shed light on crucial aspects such as reducing unnecessary prescriptions for cardiovascular drugs and the significance of effective primary care management in preventing the progression of type 2 diabetes.

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Senator Jenny McAllister, also expressed the government’s commitment to addressing climate change after a decade of inaction and dysfunction. With communities across the country already experiencing the impacts of climate change, the government has allocated resources for Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment, National Adaptation Plan, and the National Health and Climate Strategy.

“After a decade of inaction and dysfunction, the Albanese Government is committed to acting on climate change and adaptation. The impacts of climate change are already being experienced by communities across the country, including more very hot days, more intense rain fall, and warmer average temperatures,” commented Senator McAllister.

Some of the priority areas identified by the MAMSG include waste reduction, supply chain sustainability, emissions reduction, supporting the Australian Government in meeting its Paris Agreement targets, and establishing partnerships with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

As the MAMSG embarks on its mission to revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry’s sustainability practices locally, stakeholders eagerly anticipate the transformative changes that lie ahead. With collaboration between industry leaders and the government, the stage is set for a paradigm shift in the local pharma sector’s approach to sustainability.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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