WeAct: Health – Sustainability – Innovation at the heart of Chiesi Hellas

Chiesi Hellas brings to the fore the effects of air pollution on health and the benefits of sustainable development in dealing with the climate crisis.

The important issue of air pollution impacts on health, as well as the contribution of sustainable development to creating value, both for the environment and for patients, were highlighted in an event organized by the biopharmaceutical company Chiesi Hellas under the auspices of the Hellenic Pulmonology Company.

The event was attended by health professionals, environmental experts, as well as representatives of the state and the pharmaceutical industry, to make it clear that climate and health are related and that policies and actions to reverse the climate crisis must be implemented immediately with the support and efforts of all stakeholders.

Chiesi fully supports strategies to decarbonise healthcare systems with the ultimate goal of contributing to health and well-being and providing patients with treatment choice. A typical example of this commitment is that already in 2019 the Group announced an investment plan (the “Carbon Minimal Inhaler” program) worth 350 million euros to introduce the first pMDI (pressure metered dose inhaler) with a low carbon footprint for treatment. of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by 2025 by replacing the current hydrofluorocarbon propellant (HFA 134a) with a new propellant (HFA 152a). Chiesi adapts its operations to reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 90%. These activities include investments in more environmentally friendly pMDI equipment.

The event was coordinated by the journalist pi. Mr. Stavros G. Theodorakis, President and CEO of Chiesi Greece and Cyprus, greeted Mr. Niki Lymperakis.

The opening speech of the event was delivered by Mr. Yiannis Maniatis, professor of the University of Piraeus & pr. Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, analyzing the challenges of climate change at the international and national level. Among other things, Mr. Maniatis pointed to the recent decision of the UN World Climate Conference (COP28) on the gradual abandonment of fossil fuels, but also to the great challenge of the Green Transition for Greece, not only with the import of finished products, but also with the production and export of Greek vegetables.

In the first roundtable on “Health and Sustainability”, health professionals were given the floor to discuss the link between air pollution and other aggravating factors, such as smoking, with the deterioration of respiratory health and environmental stress.

Mr. Stylianos Loukidis, Professor of Pneumology and President of EPE, stated, among other things, that the Scientific Society fully agrees with the ongoing revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directive and the full alignment of the new air pollution limit values ​​based on the current relevant WHO and European Pulmonology Society guidelines. At the same time, it calls on doctors and other health professionals around the world to act as “role models” in protecting the planet and the health of the people who live on it and depend on it.

Miss. Paraskevi Katsaounou, associate professor of pulmonology and board member at EPE, pointed out that smoking is no longer just an individual problem and is becoming a “health problem” for the planet, citing evidence showing the environmental burden of smoking. In addition, he cited the ecological footprint of a smoker who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day for 50 years, which is 5.1 tons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent, 1,355 m3 of water consumption, and energy consumption equivalent to powering a household in India for 15 years. .

Mr. Emmanuel Paraskakis, associate professor of pediatrics and president of the Hellenic Pediatric Pulmonology Society, mentioned the serious consequences that global warming can have on children and adolescents with allergic asthma – with the consequent extension of the pollen season – who noted that pediatricians can play an important role in implementing and supporting strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and providing education to children and their caregivers.

The discussion in the second section of the event on the topic “Innovation and sustainability” was focused on the need to decarbonize healthcare systems, the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry through innovation, always with a focus on ensuring the health and quality of life of patients.

In a video message, Dr. Stelios Kymbouropoulos, MEP of the European People’s Party and member of the Environment, Health and Food Safety Committee, pointed to the revision of the European Union (EU) regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) which was recently ratified by a vote. of the European Parliament. He also emphasized the need for policies and initiatives that take into account an integrated vision of sustainability, ensuring the quality of patient care is maintained and the use of resources for the benefit of society and the planet.

As part of the discussion, the results of the research on the emission footprint of propellant gases used in pMDI facilities in Greece, commissioned by Chiesi Hellas Laboratories of Atmospheric Suspended Particles of the Technical University of Crete, were also presented. According to research, national emissions of these propellant gases account for 0.05% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Although this percentage is small, measures such as replacing used gases with more environmentally friendly gases lead to significant reductions in emissions, up to 95%.

Commenting on the research results, Mr. Michalis Lazaridis, Professor of Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change at the Technical University of Crete, emphasized that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have side benefits in addition to the climate, such as reducing concentrations of air pollutants will have a direct positive effect on public health. For his part, Dr. Thodoros Glytsos, a researcher at the Atmospheric Suspended Particles & Built Environment-Energy Management Laboratories of the Technical University of Crete, further analyzed the issue of global warming related to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases such as F-gases, a category that also includes propellants used by pMDI devices – important for the treatment and improvement of the quality of life of patients with asthma and COPD.

MSc Dimitris Kontopidis, President of the European Lung Foundation, Founder of the “Patients Hub” and Head of Digital Health of the Hellenic Patients’ Association, in turn emphasized that health policy, environmental protection, innovation and sustainability are interconnected values. He also emphasized that to achieve patient compliance and consequently the best use of limited health resources in terms of efficiency and equity, we need patient-centred policies, with patients participating as experts in the planning, implementation and evaluation of health services.

At the end of the discussion, Mrs. Sara Panigone, Sustainable Device Transition Leader of the Chiesi Group, emphasized that Chiesi as a Benefit Corporation aims to achieve a zero balance of gas emissions by 2035 in terms of the fight against climate change. To achieve this goal, it adopts specific and measurable measures. such as the Carbon Minimal Inhaler program while continuing to invest in alternative inhalers and fully supporting health system decarbonisation strategies.

Chiesi fully supports strategies to decarbonise health systems, while calling on decision-makers to ensure they do not limit treatment options and prevent timely access and availability of treatment. The quality of patient care and the possibility of free choice of treatment must not be compromised.

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