Läkemedelsriksdagen – The National Pharmaceutical Strategy

We were roughly 130 delegates who gathered today for the ”Pharmaceutical Parliament” (in Swedish: Läkemedelsriksdagen). The event has been initiated by our four ”pharmaceutical agencies”, i.e. MPA, TLV, Socialstyrelsen, and SBU.

The topic this year was three facous areas in the National Pharmaceutical Strategy: Patient Safety, cost efficiency, and sustainable development. The opening lecture was given by the Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Göran Hägglund.

Göran Hägglund

Göran Hägglund

We had a lot of interesting discussion during the day but let me focus on sustainability, and especially on environmental matters. The thing I personally was most curious of before the seminar today, was how the discussions would continue from this past Tuesday regarding ”TLV and environmental matters”. You may remember from my blog post from Tuesday that TLV, the Swedish pricing and reimbursement authority, surprised not only me by clearly stating that they can take into account environmental matters in their decisions. This clear statement was also high-lighted in Läkemedelsvärlden yesterday as something very interesting.

And the discussions at Läkemedelsriksdagen today, really supported the TLV statement from Tuesday. And my feeling is that everyone attending the seminar today became even more convinced of the necessity of incorporating environmental discussions in the process going forward. I do not think that anyone was left unaffected by Joakim Larsson’s presentation regarding pharmaceutical substances releases in India. As you know I have discussed the issue here at the blog several times (e.g. Aug 16, 2010), but I guess for some people in the audiance today, it was new information. And not a pleasant one…

Joakim Larsson

Joakim Larsson

Joakim received a lot of positive feedback on his speech. And probably the strongest evidence is that prior to his talk, a referendum was held with mentometers in the room answering the question ”Are there any environmental impacts from pharmaceuticals?”. 94 responded YES, 25 NO, and 8 DO NOT KNOW. After Joakim’s presentation the same question was answered this way: 127 YES, 5 NO, 3 DO NOT KNOW.

I think especially Joakim’s discussions on the potentail spread of antimicrobial resistance scared several of the attendees at the conference. Joakim really paints a horrifying scenario…

As I mentioned already this Tuesday, the general understanding is that the National Pharmaceutical Strategy with the focus area Sustainable Development is a very important process to manage the problems discussed by Joakim. If you read my blog post from Jan 5, you are also aware of the MPA has received a governmental commission to proceed evaluating their proposals, especially the ”GMP-proposal”, from the report on stricter environmental standards. Industry will follow and participate in these two parallel initiatives during spring 2011. And we have a very important task to continue explaining the value of financial incentives. It ws clear from the discussions this Tuesday, and once again today, that we cannot only evaluate the ”regulatory path”, i.e. including environmental matters in GMP, but also need to explore the possibilities for ”green incentives”. I was really happy to hear Christina Åkerman’s (Director General at MPA) final comment in the concluding panel debate that MPA will not only look into the GMP-path but also for instance discuss environmental aspects connected to substitution and the generic reform. I think that is very important! Because I believe Joakim is right when he says:

- ”A pharmaceutical product that may be substitutable to another product from a strictly medical point of view, is not necessarily substitutable if environmental aspects are taken into account”.

I am very sure that I will come back to this topic several times during spring…

One comment on “Läkemedelsriksdagen – The National Pharmaceutical Strategy

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