As you know if you have followed my blog regularly, I am a big fan of market driven solutions. I believe change happens more rapidly if the market systems are designed to promote such a change. Today I would like to reflect upon some of the latest discussions I have participated in regarding a "green pricing and re-imbursement pharmaceutical system". As a background I recommend that you read the blog posts from March 28, May 11, and May 17. Those blog posts describe the work we are doing in a broad stakeholder group regarding the development of a model for environmental assessments of pharmaceutical products. The model should help to differentiate between different products based on "greenness". Such a model is of course crucial in a redesigned pricing and re-imbursement system where environmental aspects should be taking into account. As you saw in my blog post from Aug 28, the Swedish National Pharmaceutical Strategy commissions the Ministry for Health and Social Affairs to explore the opportunities to redesign the pricing and re-imbursement system to incorporate environmental considerations. I have strong hopes that such a redesign would open up for green economic incentives to "green products".
Well, what is a green product? Yesterday, the stakeholder group developing a model for environmental assessments met again. And we have now managed to set up a model that we will share with all relevant stakeholders on a new round-table meeting at LIF (the Swedish Association of the Research Based Pharmaceutical Industry) on September 28, 10.00 to 13.00. I will not present the model here today, it should be discussed at the round-table meeting first, but I promise to come back with information on Sept 28. But let me say this much: Releases of API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingridient, i.e. the pharmeceutical substance) from manufacturing will play an important role in the model assessing greenness. This is in line with the general discussions that have been ongoing ever since the 2007 publication regarding releases from pharmaceutical manufacturing in India (read more via this link). But it is also well in line with the commission to LIF in the National Pharmaceutical Strategy regarding "promoting voluntary control av releases from pharmaceutical manufacturing" (point 7.2 in the Strategy Action Plan).
So, more to come on this. And actually more will come already tomorrow. I will then participate in a discussion in the parliament with the All Party Committee on Environmental Objectives. I will give a short presentation regarding Pharmaceuticals and the Environment, in connection to discussions regarding the Swedish Environmental Goal "A Non-Toxic Environment". My key messages will be:
1. Never deny a patient valuable medical treatment due to environmental reasons. Patient safety shall always come first.
2. The All Party Committee should look upon and use all ongoing initiatives rather than initiate several new initiatives. The most important thing the All Party Committee could do regarding pharmaceuticals and environment is actually to secure that the "right political signals for action" are being sent!
I will come back with a blog post from tomorrow's discussions in the parliament. And I have to say that a discussion on pharmaceuticals and the environment, held in the Swedish parliament, is a very good topic for my 400th blog post...