China's Pharmaceutical Industry Begins to Pursue Sustainable Development
Year:2010 ISSUE:6
Click:328    DateTime:Nov.02,2010
China's Pharmaceutical Industry Begins to Pursue Sustainable Development   

For China's pharmaceutical industry, 2010 is bound to be an extraordinary year. A "relocation" wave is emerging. Two major producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients, Northeast Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. and North China Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd., both made the first steps toward relocation in 2009, and both will make substantial progress in their relocations this year. In 2010, several other Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises will also be relocated and put into production again, such as Chongqing Tong Jun Ge Co., Ltd. Suzhou No.6 Pharmaceutical Factory of Wuzhong Group, Xian Ginwa Pharmaceutical Factory and Dalian Merro Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
   Once upon a time, "garden-style factories" blossomed everywhere in China. The pharmaceutical industry was no exception. In particular, since China has implemented GMP, newly-built pharmaceutical factories have not only complied with the GMP standards but also paid great attention to beautifying their environments. However, such garden-style factories have caused inefficient uses and wastes of land resources. Since 2000, they have been widely criticized. The revised "Control Indexes of Construction Land for Industrial Projects" issued by the Chinese Ministry of Land in 2008 stipulates: The construction coefficient of industrial projects should not be less than 30%; the land area occupied by necessary administrative offices and living facilities shall not exceed 7% of the total land area of the industrial projects; in principle, green land should not be included within industrial tracts; and if special production processes need green land, the area of green land shall not exceed 20% of the total area of the factory.
   The pharmaceutical industry belongs to an industry having "special requirements". To make pharmaceutical production comply with the GMP, a good production environment is needed. The drug production environment should include at least the surrounding environment of the factory, the overall environment within the factory, clean workshops (areas) and related environments as well as micro-environments that can contact pharmaceuticals directly or indirectly. The "Design Code of Cleaning Workshop Used in Pharmaceutical Industry" that began to be implemented on August 1st, 2009 also clearly states: "The environment around clean workshops in the pharmaceutical industry should be afforested. Exposed soil areas should be reduced within the factory." This seems to provide the pharmaceutical industry grounds to build "garden-style factories."
   But unlike previous factory design concepts, in recent years factory designs place more emphasis on the reasonable layout of buildings and spaces within factories. This is not unrelated to the relevant regulatory requirements. The new-version of the GMP (draft) stipulates: The choice of the factory site should be based on the comprehensive consideration of workshops and their protective measures; the factory environment should be able to minimize the risk of raw materials or drugs being contaminated; at the same time, enterprises should have a clean production environment, and the grounds, roads and transportation in the factory should not pollute the production of drugs; the overall layout of production, administration, living and ancillary zones should be reasonable and should not impede each other; and the movement directions of workers and goods inside the workshop and factory should be reasonable.
   In recent years, nearby residents plagued with strange pharmaceutical odors constantly go to relevant departments or news agencies to make complaints. Increasingly, more pharmaceutical enterprises are in conflict with regard to environmental issues. China's pharmaceutical industry is a high-consumption and high-pollution industry. Today, environmental protection has become a required focus for pharmaceutical companies.
   Today, the enterprise's environmental philosophy has extended from the end-point treatment to every step of the production process. Landscaping has also started to become part of the enterprise's environmental protection effort. While carrying out ISO14001 certification, many enterprises do not hesitate to invest a large sum of money to afforest their factories. In fact, the production of chemical medicines and bio-pharmaceuticals and the processing of veterinary medicines can produce emissions. Even if these emissions are non-toxic, they can also bring discomfort to factory workers and nearby residents and affect their physical and mental health.
    "Garden-style factories" indeed can help reduce pollution, facilitate factory maintenance and cleaning and guarantee the quality of drug production. Nevertheless, some experts point out that the treatment of strange odors from pharmaceutical factories has become a difficult problem around the world and that this problem cannot be solved by factory landscaping alone.