The pharmaceutical industry must prioritise its environmental reporting obligations for packaging or risk high financial penalties, Lorax Compliance said at this year’s Pharmapack conference in Paris.
According to COO Michelle Carvell, who addressed the issue with delegates at the February event, businesses in this sector may not be aware of the full extent of environmental Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation and the changes that will be implemented from the EU’s Circular Economy package.
“The pharmaceutical industry has many regulatory hoops to jump through, so it’s perhaps understandable that environmental reporting has been as less of a priority,” Carvell said.
Carvell pointed out that many pharmaceutical companies are highly globalised with export and import operations into numerous markets.
"As more EU countries focus on improving their packaging collection, sorting and separating capabilities, this industry, like many others, will need to prepare for these changes and consider how they will impact their operations," she said.
Carvell explained the recent legislation changes in both the EU and internationally, including Germany’s VerpackG scheme, which requires businesses to register to a dual reporting system and carries a maximum fine of €200,000 for non-compliance.
“The industry should expect further reforms over the next two years in line with the EU’s 2018 Circular Economy package,” she said adding that "planning for these changes is not something to leave until the last minute".
Carvell continued: The VerpackG scheme, for example, caught many businesses unawares when it was implemented on 1st January 2019. A number of other EPR programmes are changing and if businesses that are unable to source the necessary data they will automatically be subject to higher default fees.
"Pharmaceutical businesses usually operate globally, which means that they need to participate in many different compliance schemes. We urge businesses in need of support to get in touch as they prepare for the next large set of European deadlines in February," she concluded.