Everyone wants to have access to medicines! For many years, we know that an aging population together with the quality of life we got used to leads to higher consumption of pharmaceuticals. But there’s also a rising concern that pharmaceutical drugs pollute our planet. Environmental scientists do not hesitate to say how disappointed they are with the pharmaceutical industry. Many comments indicate a total lack of understanding of the way our healthcare system works. Once a medicine has passed the clinical trials and market approval has been granted by a national authority, a company has no freedom at all to “just change the recipe”. Along this line, nanotechnology has been described to have a strong negative impact on different ecosystems.
So how are we saving our planet? Our latest research paper written by Fabian Jung was just accepted by Environmental Research. It uses release testing, a method commonly applied by the pharmaceutical industry in development, to select drug formulations that are likely to succeed during clinical trials. We are combining this technique with computer-based simulations (ISERA model) and a lifecycle assessment to pre-select the excipients used in production. Because we are stopping the use of non-sustainable excipients very early in drug development, we still have all the freedom we need to make medicines more sustainable. Additionally, we present the application of nanomaterials to reduce environmental pollution. To do so, we combine smart technologies to identify drug formulations that are effective and safe in patients without posing a risk to the environment.
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