Eco-design and medicine: Opportunities to implement eco-design in the pharmaceutical R&D process
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
The pharmaceutical sector has the societal duty to make medical healthcare products both available and affordable. But like any human activity, it is not neutral in terms of environmental impact. Therefore, and like any industry, the pharmaceutical sector needs to consider the environmental aspects into its product design and activities in order to reach a sustainable production and consumption patterns, as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 of the United Nations. With a holistic perspective, the eco-design concept is an approach that aims to integrate environmental aspects into product design. To contribute to the SDGs, the pharmaceutical industry needs to consider the environmental impacts of its products. Usually, experts within Research & Development (R&D) do not have the proper level of knowledge to integrate the environmental aspects, in a Lifecycle perspective, into their decision making. Even so, those parameters are not yet part of the New Product Development (NPD) process of the medicine product. With those elements in mind, the aim of this paper is to understand which phases of the pharmaceutical R&D process represent an opportunity to eco-design such products. We proposed two qualitative experimentations with, first interviewing ten practitioners of R&D; and second, with an assessment of the medicine NPD process and related deliverables, based on LCA results. The use of such results to investigate potential key contributors during NPD stages does not seem to be explored yet, especially for the pharmaceutical sector. Results show that eco-design approaches can be performed all along the development of a pharmaceutical product. Main eco-design levers appear in parallel to the clinical phases 2a and 2b, in other words, when the tests on the final marketed form are initiated.
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