The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) was created in 2006 as a non-profit group looking to define and develop responsible business practices within the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Areas the group looks to address include ethics, labour, health and safety, environment, and management systems, and members include nearly all the Big Biopharma companies.
Last week the group added Catalent Pharma Solutions to the list, making the firm the first contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) to be represented in the initiative.
“Membership was opened to what the PSCI categorize as ‘tier one’ suppliers, i.e. those that supply directly to the pharma industry versus any additional level down the supply chain, around 12 months ago,” Pete Williams, Catalent’s VP of Environmental, Health & Safety told this publication.
“Catalent applied after having internally reviewed the membership requirements, and, as part of the company’s evolving sustainability and corporate responsibility strategy recognised the significant benefits of a collaborative approach to building and maintaining sustainable supply chains within the pharma industry.”
Williams added that while Catalent is a services firm, having a place at the table is justified as the volume of products that it develops, manufactures and packs is as large as many of the Big Pharma companies it serves.
“Many companies share common challenges, and collaboration has always been a feature of pharmaceutical development,” he said. “It makes sense to share knowledge and solutions to supply chain management and enhancement too, so that we can bring better medicines to patients.”
According to the PSCI’s joining criteria: “Members must be a pharmaceutical or healthcare company who share a vision of better social, economic, and environmental outcomes for all those involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain.”
The CDMO joins API maker DSM Sinochem and drug delivery firm West Pharmaceutical Services among the PSCI’s non-pureplay pharma members.
'Not going far enough'
While the PSCI looks to set out and uphold principles and practises across the supply chain, the initiative was criticised in 2015 for not going far enough to push for environmental criteria in good manufacturing practices (GMP) guidelines.
“Companies signing up to these [PSCI] principles, which are entirely voluntary, must - among other things - have systems in place to ensure the safe handling, movement, storage, recycling, reuse, or management of waste, air emissions and wastewater discharges,” Nusa Urbancic, co-author of a report published by campaigning group SumOfUs told us at the time .
“This is a good starting point, but obviously nothing will happen as long as the principles remain voluntary and as long as transparency is not enforced by regulators.”