Friday February 18, I gave my reflections in two blog posts (blog post No 1 and blog post No 2) to the news aired last week on Swedish Radio regarding releases of pharmaceutical substances in India. Several news papers (e.g. DN, NyTeknik, KemivärldenBiotech) have now picked up the story from Swedish Radio and give their comments. The discussions are also on-going in the blogoshere, e.g. Ethel Forsberg, former Director General at Swedish Chemicals Agency, gives here comments at MiljöAktuellt’s blog. And you can also find the comments of Ingrid Stenberg at Läkemedelsvärlden.se.
In general I feel that the discussions and the different comments are balanced and helpful in describing not only the problem (in focus in the articles in NyTeknik and KemivärldenBiotech for instance) but also potential solutions (in focus for DN and Läkemedelsvärlden). I would like to give two comments on this:
1) I think it is important to add to the picture that ”industry’s search for low costs” as decribed by Ethel Forsberg in the MiljöAktuellt’s blog is not only industry’s search, but actually something very strongly driven by society. I guess everyone is familiar with the generic reform, where pharmacies are obliged to substitute the prescribed pharmaceutical product with the cheapest generic (low-cost copy). As long as society only focus price, and do not add in any other criteria in addition to therapeutic effect, companies that invests in environmental protection will actually lose competetive edge… We need to improve the pricing and re-imbursement system, including the generic reform, by adding ”green incentives”. Read more regarding ”green incentives” in my blogpost from Feb 8 (see especially ”step 4″).
2) DN favours a solution based on regulatory initiatives. Specifically the inclusion of environmental requirements into GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). Read more about the wotk on this issue in my blogpost from Jan 5, 2011. Läkemedelsvärlden however decribes another option which I personally believe is a faster track than alterations to GMP. Coming back to my first comment again: As long as society only focus price, and do not add in any other criteria in addition to therapeutic effect, companies that invests in environmental protection will actually lose competetive edge… We need to improve the pricing and re-imbursement system, inclusing the generic reform, by adding ”green incentives”.
Looking forward to a continuation of the debate!