It was an interesting coincidence that the New York Times ran a story about the supply chains of the makers of generic drugs last week, on the heels of our report about pharma sustainability goals. The article characterized these supply chains as “a shadowy network of facilities in China and India that are rarely visited by government inspectors, who sometimes cannot even find the plants.” Our research found that pharmaceutical makers have announced few sustainability goals that deal with their supply chains, even those the supply chains are known to account for a significant share of the companies’ environmental impacts.
The fact is, most pharmas have little visibility into their own supply chains, much less influence over their environmental practices. The article described a deal in which generic drug companies would pay $299 million in annual fees to underwrite inspections by the Food and Drug Administration of foreign manufacturing plants every two years.
One can hope that this will help to increase the transparency of pharma supply chains.