From Reflection to Action

Fall 2016 has brought about many new modes of action 
By Tiina Sikanen, Group leader, Faculty of Pharmacy, UH

The Generation Green team continues to promote interaction between pharmaceutical and environmental sciences. An important collaboration project, EPIC, between the Finnish Environment Institute, the Lappeenranta University of Technology and University of Helsinki (Generation Green team) was initiated in September. The EPIC project, funded by Tekes – The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and 11 other funders from public and private sectors, aims at efficient treatment of pharmaceutical waste at primary sources, such as hospitals, and pilots new technology for purification of pharmaceuticals from waste waters. The Generation Green team is happy to participate by bringing in a “pharmaceutical touch” to the project.

During the fall, we have also initiated closer cooperation with the Alumni Association of the University of Helsinki in terms of fund raising and other modes of societal interaction. Since spring 2016, you have also been able to follow our latest news via a new Generation Green blog series at The previous entries can be browsed here.

For the time being, the Generation Green team prepares for the research seminar ‘Pharmaceuticals in the Environment – From Troublemakers Toward Bening by Design’ which is to take place on Wed-Fri 9-11 Nov in Helsinki. We are honored to host the renowned experts in the field, including Prof. Dr. Klaus Kümmerer from Leuphana University, Germany, Prof. Tanel Tenson from University of Tartu, Estonia, and Dr. Bengt Mattson from Pfizer, Sweden. The keynote lectures by these international experts are further complemented by those of national lead researchers. As a whole, a two-day programme targeting environmental aspects of pharmaceuticals is ahead of us. Looking forward to inspiring discussions between the experts and up to 60 preregistered participants! More news from the seminar will be posted here in due time.

Green chemistry for the green pharmacists

By Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Professor, University of Helsinki

The Generation Green aims at educating the new generation capable of comprehending and assimilating environmental impacts of medicines. The life cycle of medicines spans their discovery, development, industrial production and use, from the original drug molecule to its metabolites that usually pass through the sewage treatment plants and enter the water system. It should be noted that in the manufacture of medicines the use of various chemicals is essential: catalysts, solvents and auxiliary substances of many kinds are needed. Chemical industry has paid careful attention to the environmental effects of chemicals already for a long time. By the way, would the grass be greener on the other side, i.e. is there something Green Pharmacy could learn from the well-established Green Chemistry? Continue reading

Vihreän farmasian uudet ulottuvuudet

By Reijo Kärkkäinen, University instructor, Alumnae relations
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki

Pysyvä muutos on mahdollinen.

Generation Green -tiimi hakee ajattelun ja systeemin muutosta. Haluamme kasvattaa uuden sukupolven, joka lähtökohtaisesti sisäistää ympäristövaikutukset lääkkeen koko kehitys- , tuotanto- ja käyttökaaren osalta eli molekyylistä jätteeksi. Tämä uusi ajattelu on mallinnettavissa muille toimialoille kansallisella ja globaalilla tasolla. Tässä ajattelussa otetaan huomioon vertailukelpoinen kehitys sellaisilla toimialoilla kuten esimerkiksi metsäteollisuus, elintarvikkeet, puhdistusaineet ja IT-tuotteet. Continue reading

Generation Green – what does it have to do with students?

by Suvi Sivula, MSc (Pharm) student

Pharmaceutical education prepares students to work in different sectors of the pharmacy field and during various steps of the drug life cycle. If all of the pharmaceutical students gain the same knowledge about Green Pharmacy during their undergraduate studies, it does not matter where they will work later; they already have the green way of thinking when they enter work life so it is not only up to their own or their employers how educated they will be. With acknowledging the issues related to pharmaceuticals, environment, and health, safe acts could be implemented and promoted at workplaces by the new Generation Green. If we want environmental management and sustainable thinking to become a part of our lives as pharmacy professionals, it is time to start working on it.

University students of the present generation are generally well aware of environmental sustainability, but the environmental aspects have not been covered so well in pharmaceutical education.  It feels pretty weird to me that these aspects have come up so late. Continue reading

International Green Pharmacy

by Eeva Teräsalmi
Pharmacy owner, Seitsemän veljeksen apteekki
Vice president, FIP

International Pharmaceutical Federation FIP looks forward to publish its first environmental report “Green pharmacy practice”. This report has been written by a working group consisting of members representing different pharmacy fields from research to practice and education.

The document, “Green Pharmacy Practice – Report for Pharmacists” was prepared by a joint working group of the Board of Pharmacy Practice and Board of Pharmaceutical Science of FIP. The report is intended to inform FIP Member Organizations and individual members of FIP about the environmental issues that surround the medication-use process.

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Vice Dean’s thoughts on teaching (this time in Finnish)

Kuten monet muutkin tuotteet, myös lääkkeet muodostavat riskin ympäristövaikutuksille. Tämä koskee koko lääkekehityksen ja -hoidon ketjua, lääkkeiden tutkimuksesta ja valmistuksesta niiden myyntiin ja käyttöön, ja jopa jätevedenpuhdistamoihin, joissa lääkeaineiden jäämät ja hajoamistuotteet tulisi saada puhdistettua jätevedestä. Lääkkeillä on kuitenkin erityispiirre siinä, että niiden tulee estää, helpottaa tai parantaa sairauksia,

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Going public


Last week, on Tuesday the 20th of January, the Generation Green team and our idea were presented to the personnel of the Faculty of Pharmacy by our team leader Tiina. In a sense, this presentation was a small yet meaningful step of advance for GG, since it was the first time our idea was communicated to the public in real life. Previous activities had included updating news and online material, as well as being in contact with individual experts of relevant fields, but no public presentations.

Why such a fuss about publicity? Why not just concentrate on refining and actualizing the idea?

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