Sustainable pharmaceutical product lifecycle management
Sustainability at Orion means balancing social, economical and environmental factors and is a principle built into our common values. We consider these aspects during the entire life cycle of a product – from research and development through to manufacturing to patient use and product end-of-life disposal.
In our R&D activities, our commitment to building well-being means that we develop efficacious and safe medicinal treatments for unmet medical needs, representing innovation and the highest quality standards. We are committed to high ethical standards concerning pharmaceutical research and development.
We conduct environmental, health and safety risk assessments for all new products before manufacturing starts.
Chemicals and raw materials manufacturing and sourcing
Suppliers are required to comply with Good Practices (GxP) requirements, and in addition to this, according to our Third Party Code of Conduct and Supplier Sustainability Requirements we expect our suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and ethical practices. We only purchase our materials from suppliers whose qualifications we have confirmed. We conduct GxP audits into the operations of our GxP-critical business partners and suppliers. We always take and analyse samples of raw materials before approving them for production.
We manage and monitor our suppliers’ environmental, health and safety (EHS) and ethical compliance as well. Our risk-based sustainability programme conducted 12 sustainability on-site audits in 2018. In 2018, we have made progress in further integrating sustainability into the processes and day-to-day activity in our procurement department. We also joined Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) in 2018 to promote responsible practices and to share and learn best practices across the industry.
Product manufacturing / Own factories
We have identified the most significant environmental aspects for the Orion Group, and continuously improve our performance in this regard. Among other things, particular emphasis has been placed on continuously improving our wastewater handling and focusing on occupational health and safety at our own factories. We are also committed to reaching the energy savings target for 2025, which is 7.5% of energy consumption in 2016. This means a saving of slightly over 12 GWh, 40% of which was achieved in 2018. In 2018, we made the commitment to cut our scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions according to IPCC recommendations. This means reductions of 75% by the year 2025, using 2016 as the reference year.
Our products are manufactured using qualified production equipment in a controlled production environment using validated production and quality control methods to ensure that each batch fulfils predetermined quality specifications. The data integrity of all manufacturing and quality control activities is reviewed in detail before a batch is released to market. We take immediate action if any deficiency concerning product quality is detected.
We minimise waste through package design and optimise shelf life, package sizes and material flows. Optimising shelf life is of particular importance to ensure that all the resources needed in manufacturing, packaging and transportation are not wasted.
Safety is also an important aspect in packaging. Packaging plays an important role in protecting our products. We are implementing new safety measures, serialisation and anti-tampering features, to improve safety and traceability even further.
Transportation and distribution
In logistics, we use specialist service providers to meet our strict quality and reliability requirements. Our partners have measures in place to reduce their own environmental impact.
We conduct continuous safety monitoring, collect customer feedback and carry out benefit-risk evaluations throughout the entire lifespan of a product.
We also provide healthcare professionals with clear information on the appropriate use of our medicinal products.
Case Easyhaler, dry powder inhaler
One example of our efforts for the environment is Easyhaler. For our dry powder inhaler, Easyhaler, one of the original development objectives was to create a propellant-free inhaler for environmental reasons. The Montreal Protocol in 1987 prohibited the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants for inhaled products as in metered dose inhalers (MDIs). Since the Montreal Protocol came into force, the use of most ozone-depleting substances has either ceased or at least declined. CFCs were replaced by hydrofluoroalkane (HFA/HFC) propellants, and their use is still permitted in asthma medications. In MDIs, propellants are discharged during use and released after product disposal. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with around 1300 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. And, the carbon footprint of single MDI products is still 10-20 times higher than dry powder inhalers.  Therefore, propellant-free inhalers have been a tool in the fight against ozone layer depletion but also in reducing the impact of climate change when in use.
 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Medical and Chemicals Technical Options Committee, 2018 Assessment Report, UN Environment
Product end of life & disposal
We make sure that waste materials from our own operations are appropriately treated. Medicines which have expired or which are no longer needed should be returned to pharmacies to be disposed of appropriately, and packaging materials should be taken to dedicated collection points for recycling. Guidance on the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is available in our webpages. For additional and local information it is advisable to consult your pharmacy, as medication disposal schemes, in order to prevent pharmaceuticals from ending up in the environment, may vary from country to country.