Pathways for the pharmaceutical industry to become more sustainable


Evonik Health Care, Germany

It is without doubt that organic synthesis and drug development continue to have a significant, positive impact on human health and society. Chemists “change the way we live and die” as expressed by George M. Whitesides at the end of his 2015 essay (1), which summarized the accomplishments of chemistry over the past 70 years. Inventions of drugs and vaccines have a major influence on how we live our lives today. Examples include antiviral and antibacterial agents which cure and protect humans from infections stemming from our environment as well as the discovery of contraceptive drugs. These and other key achievements of research in academia and within the pharmaceutical industry were nicely summarized in the book Molecules that Changed the World by K. C. Nicolaou (2). The recent innovations of the pharmaceutical industry are impressively visualized in the top brand name drugs poster of Jon T. Njardarson, which is updated almost every year (3).


In the current century, the health effects of climate change have become a major problem. Of all the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide emitted through human activities is the main driver of climate change. Accord ...