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Green chemistry and pharmaceutical innovation at the crossroads


Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry
Member of Chimica Oggi/Chemistry Today’s Scientific Advisory Board

In some circles, there is a misguided tendency to believe that the application of Green Chemistry entails some sort of compromise in product performance and / or cost. Green Chemistry’s principle goal is to reduce or eliminate the use and/or generation of hazardous materials or processes; in order to accomplish this goal, new materials and processes must ultimately be successfully deployed in commercial endeavour where, as a rule, performance and cost are paramount. Chemists and engineers are only successful in their design of safer materials and processes when their designs are consistent with market realities.
Government policies and regulations can assist in the adoption of costly alternative technologies by artificially altering the cost equation, and it is certainly arguable that such an approach should be employed to address materials of significant hazard. However, it must be recognized that from a sustainability perspective, this strategy points us in the wrong direction. Added costs will be passed on throughout the supply chain, and the burden will likely produce unsustainable endpoints elsewhere. The best strategy for chemists and engineers is to develop co ...

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