Every dose used: A pathway to reducing wasted medicines

Scalable solutions to help improve patient supply, environmental impact, and ecosystem costs

“Wasted medicines” is a new term for ready-to-use medicine products that are never used by patients. This waste is a burgeoning issue that poses a significant challenge to health care efficacy, resource utilization, and contributes to environmental harms. A groundbreaking new report, developed in collaboration with YewMaker and the Sustainable Medicines Partnership, reveals actionable strategies to help enhance sustainability and efficiency within the health care ecosystem by aiming to reduce wasted medicines globally.

Understanding the true cost of wasted medicines

The pharmaceutical industry is grappling with immense waste. In fact, billions of medicines never reach those who need them, resulting in an estimated $11 billion in losses annually. This issue compounds challenges like environmental degradation and the misallocation of health care resources. This playbook details how to help mitigate these issues while also enhancing patient care and cost efficiency.

In the findings, we identify the main drivers of wasted medicines, from regulatory challenges and manufacturing inefficiencies to disruption and inadequate storage. By addressing these foundational issues, the industry can improve sustainability practices and make significant strides toward a more efficient health care system.

Every dose used: Reducing wasted medicines playbook

Complex barriers to reducing wasted medicines

What’s the problem and why does it matter?

Wasted medicines, for the purposes of this report, are defined as “ready-to-use medicine products that are never used.” Medicines nearing their expiry date are often not sold and are destroyed, reducing patient availability. And, wasted medicines create emissions associated with the production, distribution, and disposal of those products, impacting the environment.

Why and where is waste happening?

The playbook identifies nine key drivers that contribute to wasted medicines across the pharmaceutical supply chain. From regulatory hurdles to manufacturing excess, these drivers underscore the complex, multifaceted nature of the problem and highlight areas ripe for impactful interventions.

What are the potential solutions?

Explore 12 innovative solutions designed to reduce wasted medicines effectively. We outline a range of strategies, from improving supply chain agility to ecosystem data transparency, each offering practical steps that stakeholders can adopt to significantly drive reductions in medicines waste and improve sustainability.

About the Sustainable Medicines Partnership

The Sustainable Medicines Partnership is a diverse action collaborative of 48 organizations united by a common goal: to reduce the waste of medicines and from medicines. Their membership spans across the health care ecosystem, including leading pharma, generic and retail medicine manufacturers, distributors, health care providers, technology innovators, researchers, and policymakers. Together, they are executing a program to develop and pilot science-based, scalable solutions that make medicines more sustainable and equitable.

Six steps to help reduce wasted medicines

Before deciding on specific solutions, organizations should educate themselves on the causes and then commit to reducing wasted medicines. This step-by-step approach can help guide your business in evaluating options, prioritizing actions, and maximize impact on reducing wasted medicines. Download our report for a deeper dive into these approaches.

Pave the way for a future with less medicines waste

Successful reduction in wasted medicines hinges on a balanced approach that weighs innovative solutions against practical implementation challenges. By prioritizing sustainability in pharmaceutical practices, industry leaders can help enhance health care delivery and also contribute to global environmental goals.

Given the complexities associated with wasted medicines, collaborating with entities who understand the nuances of these challenges is key. If your business is ready to transform how it manages medicines waste, let’s start a conversation to explore how you can integrate these practices into your operations.

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