Hevert Bans Palm Oil from Its Preparations

Hevert-Arzneimittel is once again focusing on sustainability and, since the second quarter of 2020, has been using only magnesium stearate that has been proven not to be produced from palm oil in its own production at its Nussbaum site. The “palm oil-free” preparations will be available on the market beginning in July.

Hevert is focusing on sustainability: palm-oil-free production at the Nussbaum site

Magnesium stearate is used as a pharmaceutical excipient for the production of tablets, capsules, and powders. It is a white, very fine, light powder that feels greasy to the touch and acts as a lubricant during production. It prevents powder from sticking to the surfaces of machines during production, thus increasing the efficiency of the manufacturing process. It is also largely responsible for ensuring that the individual raw materials in the preparation do not stick together.

Magnesium stearate is the magnesium salt of stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid whose content of 98% is significantly higher than that of magnesium. Palm oil, which is available on the market in large quantities and at low prices, is often used to make magnesium stearate.

Since the second quarter of 2020, Hevert has been using only magnesium stearate produced with the aid of sunflower oil in its own production facilities at the Nussbaum site. The first palm oil-free tablets will be available on the market in July. Other Hevert preparations that are produced by contract manufacturers will be gradually converted over the next few months.

With the conversion to palm oil-free magnesium stearate, Hevert’s management is adding a further component to its company-wide sustainability concept. “We want our goal of sustainability to be reflected in every step of our value chain,” says Managing Director Marcus Hevert. “In doing so, we also respond to suggestions from customers. The idea of avoiding palm oil in tablets was first brought to our attention by a patient.” “We were not even aware that most of the magnesium stearate used by the pharmaceutical industry contains palm oil,” adds Co-Managing Director Mathias Hevert. “We are now all the more grateful that our R&D department has found a palm oil-free alternative that can be used successfully in our production. We very much hope that other manufacturers will follow our example.”

Rain forests are being destroyed by the palm oil industry

Industrially produced palm oil and products made from it are increasingly subject to criticism. The oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palm and is often used in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals due to its low price. The great demand has led to the clearing of entire rain forests in order to establish palm oil plantations. This is gradually depriving many animals of their habitat, not to mention the effects on the climate that it causes.

Sustainability in the entire value chain

Hevert has been committed to the conservation of nature for many years and works throughout the company to optimize processes and procedures for the most sparing use of natural resources. Every step of the value chain is critically examined.

Product packaging and instruction leaflets made of FSC®-mix paper, the use of bioethanol and the purchase of 100% green electricity were the first measures that Hevert has gradually and consistently pursued in recent years. Avoiding the use of palm oil and a company-wide project to switch from tablet blisters and caps to bioplastics fit seamlessly into these efforts.

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