Discussions on a Sustainability Assessment Model for Medicines

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Igår träffades en mängd synnerligen kompetenta intressenter (från organisationer såsom LIF, FGL, LV, TLV, landstingsfären, Apoteksföreningen, departement samt akademin) för att diskutera utformningen av en hållbarhetsbedömningsmodell för läkemedelsprodukter. Modellen är en central leverabel i uppdraget 7.2 inom den Nationella läkemedelsstrategin som jag projektleder å LIF:s vägnar.


Yesterday I had the honour to charir yet another meeting with Swedish stakeholders (e.g. representatives from the research-based pharmaceutical industry, from the generics industry, from the pricing and reimbursement agency and from MPA, from ministries, from the pharmacy association, from county councils, and from academia) regarding the development of a Sustainability Assessment Model for Pharmaceutical Products (SAMPP). The development of SAMPP is a very important deliverable in task number 7.2 within the Swedish National Pharmaceutical Strategy.

As you probably know, the stakeholders on the Swedish market have been engaged in this discussion, under the lead of LIF, for quite some time now (see for instance the blog post from Sept 28, 2011). Although debated previously, we had several issues to discuss yesterday. Everything from ”nomenclature and semantics”, via sustainability aspects to include in the model, to which ”competent body” we would recommend becoming the reviewer of data generated with such as model. I am happy to say that we made great progress on several of the issues.

Just to give one example, which may seem trivial but is actually pretty important when communicating about the model:
We decided to be very careful in the choice of words utilized when describing pharmaceuticals that meet the choosen aspects and metrics in the model. ”Environmentally friendly” is an expression that definitely should be avoided – this has been agreed upon for very long in most industries and sectors. But we also agreed to be cautious with the term ”green”, and that for several reasons. First of all, the model is not only about ”environmental responsibility”, it also includes CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) aspects. And in similarity to ”environmentally friendly”, ”green” may suggest that the product does not impact the environment at all. And we all know that it not the case.

I have given the ”nomenclature-issue” a thought for some time, and I have to admit that it is not easy to come up with good suggestions. If there is not a adequate word,  of course you could always try to find an appropriate abbreviation based on a series of words. An example could be Global Responibility and Environmentally Engineered and Manufactured products (GREEM) but that would be a stupid choice of course since it is way to close to the word ”green” which we wanted to avoid… Jokes aside; One proposal from yesterday was Sustainable Manufacturing And Responsible Trade and Technology, which would read SMART with one ”T” or two, depending how close we would like to be the original word ”smart”. Smart is a good word since it it understandable, and with positive vibes, in several languages. Time will tell where we end up on this issue.

As time goes by I will come back with more details on the model development and on the discussions about potentially implementing sustainability incentives within the pricing and reimbursement system.


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