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A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
BD, a medical-technology company, and Waste Management Healthcare Solutions, a subsidiary of Waste Management, are jointly launching the BD ecoFinity Life Cycle Solution, a service that will recycle medical sharps waste and use the material to manufacture new products. The BD ecoFinity program will enable hospitals to reduce their environmental footprint by recycling single–use medical devices, such as needles and syringes. Based on results of a pilot program at Rady Children’s Hospital–San Diego, BD believes that more than 70% of its overall sharps waste may ultimately be recovered and recycled rather than be permanently disposed of in landfills.
Dow Chemical Company has been awarded two Superior Energy Performance certifications for achievements in energy efficiency at its Texas City, Texas, operations, by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The facility is one of the first four in the US to test the DOE Superior Energy Performance program. The site’s isopropanol unit received Platinum Partner Certification with a 17.1% improvement over a three–year trial period and its energy–systems plant received Silver Partner Certification with an 8.1% improvement over the same timeframe.The Superior Energy Performance program is a new American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited energy-management certification program designed to help industrial facilities drive continual energy efficiency achievements while maintaining competitiveness. The DOE developed the project with support from the US Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (US CEEM).
Lilly Diabetes, Eli Lilly, and the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) created the "Power of Prevention: Diabetes Disaster Plan," a checklist of items for people with diabetes to use in disaster preparedness. After the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, ACE and Lilly Diabetes joined forces to provide guidance to people with diabetes on assembling a kit for emergency situations. Copies of the plans are available for free download at the program’s website. Items on the list can ensure that a person with diabetes has a list identifying his medical conditions, a supply of medications, and contact information for healthcare providers. Other safety items suggested for the kit ensure the safety of others by containing empty water bottles and sharps containers to hold syringes, needles, or lancets.
P&G Future Friendly, a program from Proctor & Gamble (P&G), has joined Recyclebank to reward people for taking everyday conservation actions. The partnership follows collaboration between Future Friendly and Recyclebank in Cincinnati to enhance that city's recycling efforts. Recyclebank encourages residents to live more sustainable lifestyles, including increasing household recycling and reducing home-energy usage, with Recyclebank Points that are redeemable for discounts and deals. In addition to sponsoring this national rewards platform, Future Friendly also will provide members with opportunities to earn points through online educational content using the Recyclebank Learn & Earn platform that highlights methods to save energy, save water and, reduce waste.
The Government of Rwanda, together with Qiagen and Merck & Co., have launched a national cervical cancer prevention program in Kigali, Rwanda. The program includes vaccination with Merck’s Gardasil [human papillomavirus (HPV) (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) vaccine, recombinant] for girls between the ages of 12 and 15 and molecular diagnostic screening for women between the ages of 35 and 45. Cervical cancer ranks as the most frequent cancer in women of all ages in Rwanda. Rwanda is the first nation in Africa to offer a prevention program that incorporates both HPV vaccination and HPV testing, according to a Merck & Co. press release. During the first three years of the national prevention program, the Rwandan Ministry of Health will offer Gardasil to girls between the ages of 12 to 15. Merck will provide more than two million doses of Gardasil to the Rwandan government at no cost. Qiagen will provide 250,000 HPV screening tests at no cost along with all necessary equipment and training to perform the tests. The Rwandan government will continue routine vaccination of 12-year-old girls. Merck will offer its services at discounted prices, and Qiagen will make its tests available under a tiered-market pricing structure to enable developing countries to establish and maintain the use of HPV testing within national cervical cancer screening and treatment programs. The two companies also have committed to providing five million doses of Gardasil and 500,000 HPV tests to developing countries at no charge.
Roche and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have developed EDUCARE (EDUcation for Cancer in African Regions), a partnership that addresses the shortage of trained healthcare professionals in oncology in Africa. The program is governed and managed by a committee of representatives from Roche, IAEA, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The committee’s main priority includes establishing a Regional African Cancer Training (RACT) network by linking cancer centers within sub-Saharan Africa through regional networks to strengthen the transfer of knowledge to a broader group of healthcare workers. The project also will implement Virtual University for Cancer Control (VUCC), which will serve as a virtual university to provide cancer training across Africa. Roche and the IAEA have committed to a five-year pilot of VUCC in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Takeda Pharmaceutical has announced that its matching gift program is raising money for the nonprofit organization (NPO) “Japan Platform,” which focuses on international emergency humanitarian aid. Takeda has made a cash donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society as well as to the Japan NPO Center that is supporting a variety of NPOs and nongovernmental organizations that are conducting relief efforts in the area. Takeda also is contributing ethical and over-the-counter drugs under initiatives supported by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The company is also encouraging its employees to engage in volunteer programs.
An open-ended working-group meeting of member states, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and under the authority of World Health Assembly, agreed on a framework to ensure that in a pandemic, influenza virus samples will be shared with partners who need the information to take steps to protect public health. The framework has certain binding legal regimes for WHO, national influenza laboratories, and industry partners in developed and developing countries. The framework is intended to increase and expedite access to essential vaccines, antivirals and diagnostic kits, especially in outbreak areas by making sure obligations are set up more effectively than in previous pandemics. It also will ensure equal access to affordable vaccines and guarantee the flow of virus samples into the WHO system, so that necessary analysis needed to determine public health risks and develop vaccines is available.