TOKYO, October 11, 2021 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas”) begin using biomass-based plastics made from plant-derived materials in blister packages as the primary packaging for pharmaceutical products. This is the world's first use of biomass plastic for blister packages for drugs.

General plastic blister package
General plastic blister package

The blister package is made of biomass-based plastic, polyethylene derived from sugarcane, as 50% of its raw material. It is an environmentally friendly packaging that agree with the concept of "carbon neutrality," which is the idea of balancing greenhouse gas emissions and absorption.

Blister packages as tablet packaging containers are required to have high tablet protection and usability. For example, strength that can withstand impact and sealability that will keep outside air from entering, while maintaining enough softness so that the tablets can be easily taken out. The visibility of the packaged tablets and the ease in which it can be separated is also required. Astellas, by fully using its packaging technology cultivated over many years, has actualized the production of the biomass-based plastic sheets that can be mass-produced while achieving tablet protection function and usability.

In FY2021, Astellas will start using the biomass-based plastic blister package for the "Irribow® Tablet 5µg" (generic name: ramosetron hydrochloride, indication: diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome) in Japan. In the future, Astellas will continue to switch from the conventional petroleum-derived plastic blister package to the biomass-based plastic blister package for other products as well, and it will also seek new packaging materials that are superior in terms of sustainability.

Astellas has set "Deepen our Engagement in Sustainability" as one of its strategic goals in its Corporate Strategic Plan 2021*1. The adoption of biomass-based plastics in blister packages is one of the efforts toward this end. Astellas also believe that this will contribute to Goal 13 of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), "Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”. Astellas continues to further promote sustainability activities and expand information disclosure under its basic policy, which is to improve the sustainability of both the global society and Astellas while keeping ESG [environmental (E), social (S), governance (G)] in mind*2.

 

*1: Astellas Corporate website “Corporate Strategic Plan 2021”. Available at:
https://www.astellas.com/jp/en/about/csp2021

*2: Astellas Corporate website “Sustainability Approach”. Available at:
https://www.astellas.com/jp/en/sustainability/sustainability-approach

 

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