Novartis is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its products over their entire life cycle. As scientific knowledge and stakeholder expectations evolve in this field, we regularly benchmark our activities and actively support researchers, regulators and other groups in developing more efficient environmental practices.
As proof of this commitment, Novartis has launched a Group-wide initiative on sustainable packaging, and seeks to design packaging that both minimizes environmental impact and meets all regulatory, quality, functional and design requirements.
Novartis engages with clients and packaging material suppliers to determine needs and identify more sustainable packaging solutions. A guide was developed and issued for packaging design teams to make product packaging more sustainable. Best practice packaging case examples are collected and shared among packaging designers across the company. Improvements are quantified based on a set of packaging indicators.
One key area of concern is the prevention of pharmaceuticals entering the aquatic environment. The majority of pharmaceuticals in the environment are a result of excretions of treated patients and improper disposal of unused or expired medicine. However, relatively small quantities can come from drug manufacturing effluents and R&D facilities.
We regularly monitor the levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in Novartis effluents and in the aquatic environment as a result of Novartis activities. These levels are below those approved as safe by medical regulatory agencies and therefore do not present a health risk. The total quantity of drug substance released has been reduced to below 0.2%.
Many of the major Novartis products have undergone a full regulatory assessment for potential environmental long-term risks, including:
Various late-stage pipeline products are currently being assessed and the key results of these investigations will be made available to the public by European Union regulators.
We constantly strive to minimize any release of APIs into wastewater from our operations, following a site- and substance-specific approach. We have banned the disposal of any organic hazardous waste, including pharmaceutical waste, in landfills. Such waste is treated for further processing or incinerated in approved, state-of-the-art facilities.