Posted by Sponsored Post Posted on 1 June 2024

The Importance of Sustainability in Medical Device Manufacturing

Innovation is key in the medical device industry in order to stay ahead of the competition. Even though the industry itself is pushing boundaries to achieve results in healthcare, there must also be considerations of sustainability and the circular economy throughout each strategic decision. Sustainability, in this context, outlines issues such as global supply chain challenges and those relating to environmental and economic factors. This article will explore key aspects of sustainability in medical device manufacturing with practical advice on how to implement new strategies.

The current state of medical device manufacturing

Sustainability in medical device manufacturing is an extensive subject that in general details ways in which environmentally responsible practices can be put into place in the healthcare system. This is inclusive of medical devices, as well as hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and private healthcare. We take a look into the concept of circular economy in the medical device industry, focusing on practices such as re-use, remanufacturing, and systems to minimise waste and maximise resources. For those interested in opportunities within this field, medical device recruitment is a growing area to explore.

The importance of sustainability in manufacturing

It’s important to understand the concepts falling under sustainability in the medical device industry because these initiatives are needed to reduce environmental and social impacts relating to healthcare. Embracing sustainability measures and circular economy practices can lead to more efficient resource management, reduced waste generation, and a significant contribution to environmental responsibility.

Challenges to implementing sustainable practices

Challenges in the production of  medical devices include cost considerations, regulatory compliance, in addition to client education regarding the benefits of sustainable products and practices.

Cost considerations: Implementing sustainable practices can require some upfront investment, which can be a barrier for some companies, especially smaller ones. The cost of transitioning to eco-friendly materials, redesigning products for longevity, and optimising supply chains can be significant. 

Regulatory compliance: Adhering to sustainability standards/regulations can be challenging, especially when operating in multiple regions with differing requirements. Working to resolve complex regulatory problems may slow down progress in implementing sustainable practices. 

Demand and education: Building awareness and demand for sustainable medical devices can be a significant hurdle. Taking action to educate clients about the benefits of sustainable products and practices, whilst changing purchasing behaviours, is a gradual step towards a more environmentally beneficial supply chain.

Sustainable practices in medical device manufacturing

The main considerations for manufacturers are most commonly what materials to use, how to use them, how to package and deliver products, and what happens when materials are not needed anymore, with design in this area being an overarching factor. 

Five key factors for sustainability in medical device manufacturing include:

  1. Carbon footprint reduction: The most energy-efficient technology should always be put forward in the initial stages of planning. Top biotech companies are minimising emissions associated with production and distribution. GenScript Biotech is using renewable energy and setting ambitious targets for reducing their environmental impact​.
  2. Use of eco materials: Companies should always do their very best to prioritise use of environmentally friendly materials, and favour biodegradable or recyclable materials over those that will create more landfill waste. 
  3. Plan ahead for waste reduction: Waste production can also be maintained with good foresight and building in waste management plans in the initial stages of a project. Action points may include minimising waste through efficient resource management, as well as designing products for longevity and ease of repair. 
  4. Sustainability in the supply chain: Companies should take every possible measure to reduce the burden on recycling efforts. They may begin by working with suppliers to source products and materials responsibly, reducing the environmental impact of the entire production method.
  5. Sourcing with ethical considerations: It is of utmost importance to ensure that the materials and components we use are responsibly sourced, and that fair labour practices are in place. Following these principles is not only right ethically and environmentally, but it also helps to improve the overall reputation of a company.

In conclusion

Embracing eco-friendly materials, waste reduction, and ethical sourcing can make a significant impact. As challenging as obstacles such as cost and regulations can be, using sustainable practices is by far the most important aspect of production facing manufacturing companies worldwide. Companies focusing on areas such as cutting down on emissions, using eco-friendly materials, effective planning to reduce waste, being sustainable in the supply chain, as well as choosing materials ethically – can make a marked difference in making the production of medical devices more sustainable.

Now, more than ever, it is critical for companies to prioritise sustainable practices in medical devices, and at Panda, we recognise the importance of sustainability efforts. To learn more about how we can support companies in recruitment practices and prioritising sustainability in medical device manufacturing, visit Panda.

GenScript Biotech Corporation. (2023). ESG Report 2023. 


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