Reducing emissions from antibiotics production

Sept. 3, 2019
Engineering, incentives, and regulation to combat antibiotic resistance

In an effort to combat antibiotic resistance, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joins forces with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Centrient Pharmaceuticals and Recipharm to launch the Reducing Emissions from Antibiotics Production (REAP) initiative. Presented at World Water Week 2019, REAP aims to support the pharmaceutical sector’s shift to more sustainable production practices.

Emissions of antibiotics from pharmaceutical manufacturing are one of the many drivers for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Reducing them requires practical solutions on an engineering level and through voluntary initiatives, regulation and incentive structures. And it must happen now, stated the agency in a news release.

“A contract manufacturer such as Recipharm is in the middle of the supply chain, having to control suppliers while also being accountable to our own customers,” said Erik Haeffler, Vice President of Manufacturing Services & Head of Sustainability at Recipharm in a news announcement. “This makes transparency and accountability as well as reliable methodologies essential components of future business models for the pharmaceutical industry.”

The initiative brings together pioneers on the supply and demand sides of antibiotics manufacturing and promotes leadership in terms of technologies, better regulation, transparency and market incentives for sustainably produced antibiotics.

“Industry, governments and procurers have all developed their own strategies to promote a more sustainable antibiotics production approach. But it is impossible for them to reach their goals alone,” says Nicolai Schaaf, Program Manager at SIWI, and Coordinator of the Reducing Emissions from Antibiotics Production (REAP) project, funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation. “Our project addresses the mutual dependency of actors when it comes to reducing the emission of antibiotics from manufacturing sites. This will not only protect human health and the environment, it will also strive to improve access to water and its quality.”

UNDP’s Regional Team Leader for HIV, Health and Development, Dr. Rosemary Kumwenda, who is also the Coordinator of the UN Initiative Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) added. “The UN purchases large volumes of antibiotics. Developing a Sustainable Procurement Index for Health is a way for us to promote more sustainable manufacturing and procurement. Through REAP, we can engage with manufacturers and suppliers and in the long run, incentivize a more sustainable production and procurement system.”

This event at World Water Week 2019 was a milestone in preparing for a high-level event that is due to take place in India in November 2019, where diverse stakeholders will be invited to add their signature for a call for action in order to accelerate the implementation of the various AMR strategies. REAP aims at providing the platform to facilitate an exchange of experiences and will host pilot projects to accommodate this implementation process.

Get more information about the event here.