AstraZeneca’s Jason Snape, outlined his company’s approach to the environmental risk assessment of human medicinal products and what more needs to be in place to accomplish sustainable healthcare.

In October, Heath Europa attended CleanMed Europe 2018 at Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. This event, which explores sustainable healthcare, is designed to address the environmental risk and impact of the healthcare sector on a local, regional and global level.

Speaking at the conference, Professor Jason Snape, the senior principal environmental scientist within AstraZeneca who is responsible for the co-ordination of their Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Research and Foresight programmes, delivered a presentation outlining some of the main points from his ten years of experience with the environmental risk assessment of human medicinal products.

He began his address by discussing some of the emerging pollutants and contaminants which are seen as being a cause for concern. While pharmaceuticals are often a part of such a discussion, Snape explained that his talk would focus specifically on the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment, as well as some of the stakeholder concerns, and indeed areas such as where environmental issues sit within the drug discovery and development framework and the role of the environmental risk assessment approach. His speech also touched on the issue of antimicrobial resistance, which he described as “a key societal issue moving ahead”.

Environmental concerns

Snape continued by explaining that there is a lot of environmental monitoring data now being made available. However, this means that when the concentration of a particular drug is measured over time, the detection frequency is likely to increase (not least because an increasing amount of chemical analysis is being conducted), and while this increase may be seen as a cause for concern by regulators, or even an NGO or an academic, for Snape it is important to compare this concentration to agreed safe levels.

“You need to ask,” he said, “whether this provides any kind of reassurance. Is there an acceptable margin of safety there? Do we need any interventions for that compound? Is it an emerging pollutant?”

Read more at Health Europa