Swedish MPA Report Regarding Unused Medicines

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Läkemedelsverket (LV) publicerar idag rapporten ”Ytterligare åtgärder som kan vidtas på nationell nivå för att minska kassationen av läkemedel och begränsa miljöpåverkan av läkemedelsanvändningen”. Rapporten redovisar LV:s uppdrag 7.3 i den Nationella läkemedelsstrategin. Läs LV:s ”pressmeddelande” via denna länk, och hela rapprten via denna länk.

As you may know, there are four environmental action items in the Swedish National Pharmaceutical Strategy. An ”unofficial” English translation of the four actions looks like this:

Reduce effects on the environment by pharmaceuticals, locally and globally: Action Plan
7.1. Investigate if the environmental aspects should be considered when decisions on subsidy for a pharmaceutical are decided (Lead: Ministry of Health): Review of possibilities to – within the context of the national reimbursement system – increasingly take environmental considerations.
7.2. Encourage voluntary control of emissions from pharmaceutical factories (Lead: LIF): Introduction of a voluntary environmental assessment of pharmaceutical products.
7.3. Investigate what further measures can be taken at national level to reduce wastage of medicines or in other ways limit the environmental impact of use of pharmaceuticals (Lead: Swedish MPA): Investigation of the causes of wastage and propose measures to reduce wastage of medicines. Implementation of joint information efforts to encourage patients to return leftover medicines.
7.4. Promote the possibilities for environment considerations during production and use of medicines (Lead: Cabinet Office): The Government on June 9, 2011 took the decision (M 2010:04) to give All-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives the additional task of developing a strategy for Sweden’s work in the EU as well as internationally for a non-toxic environment. The strategy should also encompass the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment.

Staus reports of these actions could be found via this link (everything in Swedish however…). A very important milestone in Action 7.3 ”Investigate what further measures can be taken at national level to reduce wastage of medicines or in other ways limit the environmental impact of use of pharmaceuticals” has now been reached. Swedish MPA have today published the final report on their commission.

The report includes the LIF (Swedish Association of the Research Based Pharmaceutical Industry) report summarizing the results from the campaign on unused medicines conducted in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders during spring 2012. One important conclusion from the campaign and connected interviews and questionnaries was that regular campaigns to stress the importance of bringing back unused medicins to pharmacies are vital. In addition to this topic, Swedish MPA also discusses several other aspects of unused medicines and presents a number of action proposals:

- Utvärdera konstruktionen av läkemedelsförmånen samt systemet för generiskt utbyte (periodens vara) med avseende på hur det påverkar patienters kassation av läkemedel
(my own rough English translation: Review the pricing and reimbursement system, including generic substitution, to understand the effect upon cassation/wastage of medicines)

- Öka samarbetet mellan SoS och LV för att förbättra läkemedelsanvändningen
(my own rough English translation: Increase the collaboration between The National Board for Health and Welfare and MPA to improve the use of pharmaceuticals)

- Patienten ska få ut sin läkemedelslista om behandlingen ändras
(my own rough English translation: The patient should receive his/her list of pharmaceuticals everytime the treatment is adjusted)

- Komplettera patientens läkemedelslista med generiska namn (läkemedelssubstans)
(my own rough English translation: Patients’ list of pharmaceuticals should include generic names)

- Stöd användningen av startförpackningar och dosexpedierade läkemedel
(my own rough English translation: Supprt the use of ”start-up packages” and other types of ”smaller better adjusted packaging sizes”)

- Väg in miljörisker i bedömningen om ett läkemedel skall få säljas receptfritt
(my own rough English translation: Environmental aspects should be considered when decision is taken wheter or not a pharmaceutical should be prescription-free or not)

- Underlätta för medborgarna att kasta läkemedelsavfall genom en nationell lösning
(my own rough English translation: Implement nation-wide solutions allowing patients to dispose of their pharmaceutical waste)

- Genomför regelbundna nationella informationskampanjer
(my own rough English translation: Regular information campaigns are needed (see my comments above))

I am looking forward to working with these action proposals and the different stakeholders in the sector in the coming process!

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