The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) Releases Position Paper on Sector’s Use of Horseshoe Crabs
- The PSCI - representing 75 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies - launches progressive position paper on the use of Horseshoe Crab blood in the industry
- Position paper addresses a range of issues to ensure sustainability and welfare of the Horseshoe Crab populations
22nd May 2023 – The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) just released a position paper on the use of Horseshoe Crabs in the pharmaceutical sector. The paper takes a progressive stance, noting the potential animal welfare and sustainability impacts of the use of Horseshoe Crab blood within the industry, and aims to encourage its member companies to minimize their use and seek out safe alternatives for their supply chains.
Horseshoe Crabs are an ancient group of crab species who have been around for more than 400 million years. Their blood has the remarkable property of indicating certain types of endotoxins. For this reason, it has been harvested by the medical and pharma industries to use as a test for these harmful compounds. Endotoxin testing using approved methods is a key demand of the regulators who authorize pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.
While this process does not require the death of the animal, there are still questions over possible animal welfare, biodiversity, and sustainability impacts from the collection of these materials from populations of wild crabs. Of the three affected species of Horseshoe Crabs across the US and Asia, one Asian species is listed as endangered, with concerns over the other Asian species where data is deficient.
The connection between the Horseshoe Crab species and the pharmaceutical sector highlights the importance of biodiversity for human health and acts an excellent example of interdependence between medicine and biodiversity. It also illustrates the complexity of biodiversity-related sourcing in a regulated industry.
However, it also emphasizes the need for the industry to take an active position, and so the PSCI has launched its progressive position paper on what it believes to be good practice for the use of Horseshoe Crab blood within the pharmaceutical industry.
“The PSCI is releasing this position paper to encourage our members to protect the endangered species, seek out alternatives to these materials, and to adopt an intentional approach to sourcing where it is remains necessary.
Our commitment is to work together now, to drive this transition towards a long-term sustainable position and to play our part in protecting these remarkable species.”
– A spokesperson for the PSCI
Representing 75 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, the PSCI will encourage its members to commit to no further collection from endangered species, minimising the use of these materials, and sharing information to understand the animal welfare and conservation questions.
While this paper is not a membership requirement for the PSCI, it does outline the organisation’s views on good practice as it continues its commitment to the protection of all endangered species. It is important the industry has a strategy for reducing its dependence on Horseshoe Crab-derived products, and the PSCI is committed to working with its members to facilitate their progress and report the position across the whole industry.
Click here for the full position paper.
Please contact the PSCI at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Communications Manager, email@example.com, if you have any questions or would like to learn more.
About The PSCI
Helping suppliers meet industry expectations. The PSCI was formed as a project between the 6 founding members in 2006 and was legally established in the United States as a non-profit membership organization in 2013.
Our vision is for excellence in safety, environmental, and social outcomes for the whole of the global pharmaceutical and healthcare supply chain. Our purpose is to bring together members to define, establish, and promote responsible supply chain practices, human rights, environmental sustainability, and responsible business.
We achieve this through the PSCI Principles for Responsible Supply Chain Management. They are the blueprint for responsible practice, setting our expectations for five relevant topics: Ethics, Labor, Health & Safety, Environment, and Management Systems.
Our strategy is based on the 6 strategic themes of: Leadership, Audit Partnering, Regional Presence, Supplier Learning, Innovation.
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