Its presented to the environmental authorities the First Monitoring Report of the Business Plan for the Prevention of Packaging (PEP) 2018-2020 of the pharmaceutical sector, the seventh that the pharmaceutical industry in our country undertakes. One of the most important data in the report is that the global average weight of the 1.45 billion Pharmaceutical Solutions and Services placed on the market last year, decreased by 1.48%.

This result has been possible thanks to the 101 ecodesign measures applied by 49 pharmaceutical laboratories. These new measures are added to the 2,266 initiatives that the pharmaceutical industry has already applied in ecodesign and packaging prevention in the six Business Prevention Plans developed previously, since 2000, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of pharmaceutical packaging.

Greatest number of measures

The greatest number of measures have been aimed at reducing the weight of the container (81.19%), with the rest of the initiatives focusing on minimizing the environmental impact, improving reuse and improving recycling.

, last year, pharmaceutical laboratories began to incorporate physical anti-handling devices into their packaging to adapt to the new medication verification regulations that came into force at the beginning of 2019 , explains the CEO of Sigre, Juan Carlos Mampaso.

The objective contemplated in the PEP 2018-2020, coordinated by Sigre and presented to the environmental authorities last year, contemplated a reduction in the global weight of medicine containers of 1%, over these three years, taking into account the limitations techniques and regulations that the pharmaceutical industry faces in this field.

This highlights the importance of the result obtained in this first exercise of the triennial plan, as well as the effort and commitment of the pharmaceutical industry to advance in this matter.

In this sense, Juan Carlos Mampaso adds: “The reduction achieved in 2018 does not ensure that the triennial objective will be achieved. Progress must be made in applying the principles of the circular economy to reduce the size and thickness of pharmaceutical packaging, improve its recyclability and minimize its environmental impact. ”

Ecodesign measures are applicable to any of the packaging used by the pharmaceutical sector: external, immediate, grouping and transport. According to the data collected in the PEP 2018-2020, the blister is the immediate packaging (the one that contains and is in contact with the product) most used in the pharmaceutical sector to present, package and market the medicine.

Types of pharmaceutical packaging

Medicines are one of the foundations of the health system necessary for the control and prevention of diseases , as well as effective tools to improve the quality of life of users and patients. The sustainability of the health system finds in drugs the perfect framework to support its guarantee. When talking about medicines, not only do you have to take into account medicine as such, but the whole set of it.

Pharmaceutical packaging , for example, plays a fundamental role in ensuring the protection of both the contained product and the patient for whom it is intended. Its functions are aimed at preserving intact the properties and qualities of the medicine and ensure the health of the user through the information they provide, allowing its correct use and conservation.

The packaging also guarantees the traceability of the medicine and ensures its legitimate origin. In this way, it defends consumer rights against possible counterfeits. Therefore, the choice of the most suitable materials and packaging for a given medicine is an important decision to make from the first stages of its manufacture, considering aspects such as the pharmaceutical form, the physicochemical characteristics or the route of administration of the drug.

The incorporation of environmental criteria at this stage of choosing and designing a new container, together with the other requirements, also allows many of the containers used by the pharmaceutical sector to be a visible example of the actions carried out by the pharmaceutical industry in its concern for the environment.

In this sense, laboratories , in their role as producers and / or packers, have a fundamental role in promoting environmental improvement actions on the different types of packaging they use to put their products on the market (including industrial and commercial), making them increasingly sustainable.