For Novartis, responsible water management means minimizing our water footprint along the entire materials supply chain, and avoiding potential risks related to pharmaceuticals reaching the natural environment. We aim to be a water steward wherever we operate, working to achieve water sustainability and helping ensure sufficient and safe water.
Novartis recognizes that water is a valuable resource which needs to be used responsibly particularly in regions of the world where water is scarce. Water recycling and practices of water savings are therefore a priority for our operations. We closely monitor all water streams into and out of our sites, which helps ensure effective management of water resources and costs. Sites are encouraged to use water from underground or surface sources for cooling because this can save energy in areas where water is abundant. However, we take care to do this in a sustainable way and without impact to the environment.
A major area of concern on water quality 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 actively manage pharmaceutical discharges, including antibiotics, from our own and our supplier production sites. our progress is included in the AMR Industry Alliance report and the Access to Medicine Foundation AMR Benchmark report.
Making medicines environmentally sustainable Pharmaceuticals are highly active in small amounts – which is beneficial for patients, but potentially harmful for the environment. Novartis is working across its pipeline to foresee and prevent the unintended impact of drugs. All new products undergo a regulatory assessment for potential long-term environmental risks and our legacy products run through a targeted assessment to prioritize pharmaceuticals for further environmental testing. Read more
Dissolving a toxic tradition Organic solvents are as natural to chemistry as the ubiquitous test tubes. But the fossil origin of some widely used solvents, which are also used in drug development, are a threat to the environment. Special soap-like substances that can work like nanomachines might dissolve part of this toxic problem and help chemistry become more natural. Read more
Novartis participated successfully in the iPiE project (Intelligence-led Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment), funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). The IMI is a public-private partnership between pharmaceutical companies, the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). This project developed a framework to identify the potential risk of pharmaceuticals to the natural environment and methods to prioritize legacy pharmaceuticals for targeted environmental risk assessment. Following the success of iPiE, Novartis joined IMI-PREMIER, a new 6-year project with the IMI, focused on evaluating and mitigating risk of medicines in the environment. The PREMIER (Prioritisation and Risk Evaluation of Medicines in the EnviRonment) project aims to deliver an innovative framework for characterizing the environmental risks of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which can ultimately be used to explore and promote greener drug design and manufacturing.