Richard Hansen Dean Discusses Pharmaceutical Industry News: A Focus on Sustainability

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Richard Hansen Dean

Richard Hansen Dean is a professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. He has worked extensively in the comparative effectiveness of research and drug safety. In the article below, Richard Hansen discusses the highlights and news of what’s happening in the industry.

The pharmaceutical industry’s carbon footprint has revealed an excessive history of waste production and environmental damage. In recent years, the industry has set sights on a more sustainable future to reduce emissions and preserve the planet. While this is not a change that can be made overnight, the goals set forth by the industry are an attempt to take the right steps in their vision.

The Importance of Sustainability

The Earth does not have unlimited resources, and with a growing number of people in need of medicine, we must find a way to balance our duty to help people and preserve the planet reports Richard Hansen Dean. When sourcing ingredients and materials from all over the world to concoct vital medicines and drugs, the supply chain can lead to less than ideal contributions to emissions.

Richard Hansen Dean says that managing sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry means ensuring that the finite resources on Earth are distributed effectively without causing harm to the planet. This harm will inevitably worsen the problems the Earth already faces, such as climate change and pollution, making it the responsibility of the industry to manage their practices ethically.

The Effects of Inflation

After the Covid-19 pandemic, Rick Hansen says that both the cost of raw materials and energy saw a sharp increase. With the demand for medications outstripping the supply of raw materials, manufacturing costs were volatile. Inflation requires day-to-day monitoring to try and manage the situation, but even years later, it’s still a prevalent issue.

Regarding sustainability, Richard Hansen Dean says that inflation affects where suppliers get the raw materials. Rather than ethically sourcing materials, the cost of inflation encourages them to seek more accessible venues to fulfill orders. Vigilant spending practices and partnerships with renewable energy companies can help mitigate some of the costs, but a definite long-term solution has yet to be acquired.

How Sustainability Applies to Pharmaceuticals

There are several ways that the pharmaceutical industry can increase its sustainability efforts to help protect the environment while still meeting the needs of its clientele. For the industry, several steps in the process must be monitored and adjusted accordingly to reduce its carbon footprint and the emissions that are produced as a result reports Richard Hansen.

From seeking alternative energy consumption to packaging that reaches the shelves, the industry is responsible for ensuring the safety of the consumer and the environment the materials are sourced from.

Manufacturing Innovations

Not only does the process of manufacturing cost money, but so does the costs of maintaining the facility and providing ethical working conditions for the employees who work there. Rick Hansen says that temperature can greatly affect the usefulness of certain medications, meaning that in some facilities the temperature must be precisely controlled. Doing so requires a great deal of energy.

Renewable energy can solve many issues related to the power crisis and sustainability. It is the pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility to partner with sustainable energy companies and foster beneficial relationships with them to maintain a long-term business plan that benefits the environment reports Richard Hansen Dean.

Richard Hansen DeanEthical Suppliers

Finding quality raw materials without harming the environment can be a difficult balance. Cost-cutting measures can greatly harm the planet if not managed responsibly. In the current climate crisis, it’s more important than ever to act sustainably to maintain long-term production values.

While sustainable sourcing materials may cost more upfront, the benefits outweigh the initial cost. Ethical suppliers ensure that the environmental impact is minimized so that the natural setting goes relatively undisturbed when possible. Richard Hansen Dean reports that by doing so, this ensures that the planet is taken care of and that the necessary medicines are produced for the consumers that need them.

Sustainable Packaging

One major way that the pharmaceutical industry can reduce its carbon footprint is to manage the distressing amount of wasteful packaging included with prescriptions. While some packaging is designed to protect and organize the drugs inside, much of the plastic is unnecessary, leading to a large amount of unrecyclable waste that ends up in landfills.
The industry is looking to redesign its packaging to be biodegradable to that it doesn’t pile up in landfills. The problem becomes the need to find materials that meet sustainability requirements without posing a risk to the integrity or performance of the prescription itself.

One such material is aluminum, providing a more sustainable barrier between the patient and the prescription during the manufacturing process. Rick Hansen states that it can also be recycled, meaning that almost all of the energy cost used to produce it is saved.

The Bottom Line

The pharmaceutical industry is making moves toward a more sustainable future so that it can balance its responsibility to the people and the planet. It’s not a straightforward process, and there are many steps to consider, but there are reasons to remain hopeful as changes are underway.