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Benchmarking green chemistry adoption by “big pharma” and generics manufacturers

Vesela Veleva (University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Berkeley W. Cue Jr (BWC Pharma Consulting, LLC, Nottingham, New Hampshire, USA)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to benchmark current adoption of green chemistry (GC) practices by the innovative and generic pharmaceutical companies and examine the drivers, barriers and future opportunities.


The authors examined publicly available data for the top 10 “big pharma” and top ten generic drug manufacturers. Using the IQ Green Chemistry working group framework for effective GC programs, they scored each of the 20 companies in seven key areas.


The study finds that generic drug companies have not embraced GC at the level of the innovative pharmaceutical companies (average GC score of 2 vs 11 for “big pharma”). Top two barriers for them include: lack of pressure and incentives, and the burdensome regulatory process for making changes in the manufacturing process.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on publicly disclosed information. It is possible that some generic drug manufacturers have begun to work internally on GC but have not disclosed externally yet. Future research should include a survey or interviews of generic drug manufacturers.

Practical implications

The company-level analysis, benchmarking framework and results are of value for researchers and practitioners interested in advancing greater adoption of GC by the pharmaceutical industry.


This study provides the first company-level benchmarking of GC adoption by the largest innovative and generics drug manufacturers. It contributes to the literature on the barriers and drivers for greater adoption of GC.



Veleva, V. and W. Cue Jr, B. (2017), "Benchmarking green chemistry adoption by “big pharma” and generics manufacturers", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 1414-1436.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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