August 05, 2022 | Pharma and Life Sciences Blogs
Businesses across industries today look to implement sustainable solutions that can better equip them to handle unpredictable, volatile circumstances.
There is added pressure on pharma companies as increased regulatory requirements have led them to establish net-zero or carbon-neutrality goals, as well as make efforts toward immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the plan, pharmaceutical firms look to lower operational waste from their facilities and product packaging. This requires more focus on recycling, substituting paper-printed patient information with online counterparts, increasing recycled material-made packaging, and making investments in clean energy and energy-efficient technology.
The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Pharma 4.0 framework recommends the use of digitalization, cloud technologies, and process automation to enable efficiency, consistent quality, and right-the-first-time manufacturing while being sensitive to the environment.
For example, process analytical technology (PAT) is based on implementing at-line and in-line sophisticated measuring equipment for complete awareness of process parameters and quality attributes.
PAT is particularly helpful for monitoring process and product quality on account of its visibility, which helps reduce the likelihood of defective manufacturing runs and lost batches. This in turn reduces waste by eliminating inferior quality products.
Disruptions caused due to COVID-19 boosted technological breakthroughs, which can be leveraged to achieve sustainability goals.
For example, to constantly maintain temperature and humidity in manufacturing and formulation units, Glenmark's energy digitalization program incorporates technology intervention (smart sensors) to manage the air control units, heaters, and chillers placed at these units. As a result, it is possible to use energy more efficiently, reduce waste, collect data, and gain insights for further process optimization.
Dr. Reddy's Digital Lighthouse initiative calls for the adoption of digitalization across various activities, including manufacturing, quality control, and R&D trials, to promote energy conservation, waste reduction, and improved decision-making.
Many life sciences companies are also planning to introduce sustainable solutions for packaging. For instance, they are deploying smart vision-enabled robotic arms to maximize packaging space. The use of technologies like RFID (radio frequency identification), printed electronics, drones, and 5G can ensure smooth tracking throughout the transportation process and work well with emerging package formats.
Waste from the pharmaceutical industry is a growing global issue. Before 2050, the amount of pharmaceutical waste leaking into rivers might double at the current rate. The adoption of technology can result in significant improvement in this space.
For instance, IT-driven sophisticated bioremediation algorithms are being used to comprehend how bacteria contribute to the total breakdown of industrial waste. Real-time insights on wastewater chemical composition, sewage obstructions, pH or turbidity analysers, and similar topics are provided by smart technologies like IoT, image analytics, and deep learning.
The ecosystem will benefit if these ideas are put into practice and a seamless water treatment procedure is ensured.
Pharma companies must continue to implement innovative techniques across R&D, manufacturing, and supply chain, to meet the target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Implementation of cutting-edge technology to life science processes is key to achieving sustainability goals.