Our commitment to sustainability does not end when our life-saving medicines have been developed and manufactured — it continues throughout the process of packaging innovation to reduce our packaging footprint and shipping logistics as we transport our medicines to destinations around the world. Product stewardship also extends to the collection – or takeback programs — of BMS medicines.
Sustainable packaging projects and innovations
Our Manufacturing Science & Technology (MS&T) team is committed to reducing our environmental impact across our packaging footprint. Our team developed a sustainability improvement portal which serves as a repository for sustainable projects and allows teams to collaborate, share learnings and coordinate efforts. The portal also helps MS&T quantify the impact of each project in support of BMS' enterprise goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water use and waste to landfill.
MS&T regularly review packaging and shipping processes with sustainability and efficiency in mind. One example is a review of a polyurethane insulated shipper used for product transportation which had limited capacity and a high dry ice requirement. To meet the growing needs of patients, it was determined that a higher capacity shipping process was required.
A cross-functional team was established to take on the challenge and that included MS&T alongside Manufacturing Operations, Supply Chain and Quality Assurance. The team screened multiple shipping containers for the best fit while also considering key parameters such as product capacity, environmental sustainability and duration within product temperature criteria.
After multiple trials, a new solution was found which uses hybrid insulation designed to increase the run duration while improving sustainability by decreasing the dry ice requirement and transportation related emissions. Furthermore, the solution provided a significant increase in capacity compared to the legacy container.
MS&T and cross-functional teams continue to seek out solutions that will reduce the environmental footprint of BMS’ packaging and shipping.
Sharps management plan: Tracking risk post-product launch
In 2022, BMS initiated its ecopharmacovigilance program to monitor our products post-launch for environmental risks by tracking the scientific literature for emerging data on exposure and effects. As part of this program, we are committed to continuous improvement in this space.
We participate in MED-Project® (Medication Education & Disposal), which independently collects, measures and verifies the amount of unwanted household medications and sharps (i.e., injection needles). The Pharmaceutical Product Stewardship Work Group (PPSWG) manages the takeback of BMS medications from patients. The PPSWG coordinates these efforts through MED-Project.
We also support takeback programs, as outlined in our Household-Generated Sharps Management Plan. The websites myoldmeds.com and medsdisposal.eu offer an easy way for patients to find a nearby location where they can dispose of unwanted, unused or expired household medicines. These websites also highlight how important it is for patients to securely store household medicines and follow labeling information and medication guides.