MPA’s Björn Eriksson wants to strengthen the collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy

4 maj 2022

Mathias Hallberg, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Björn Eriksson, Swedish MPA

Mathias Hallberg, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Björn Eriksson, Swedish MPA

“Sweden has the prerequisites we need to compete globally, and with joint strength we can aim even higher,” stated Björn Eriksson, Director General of the Swedish Medical Products Agency, when visiting Uppsala University and the new Faculty of Pharmacy seminar series.

“I was attracted by Uppsala and its internationally competitive Life Science environment. Here, education, research and numerous interesting players unite to boost the development of healthcare, and after one year in this city, I am convinced that strengthening the ties between the Medical Products Agency and the Faculty of Pharmacy is a strategically important success factor.”

In March 2021, Björn Eriksson was appointed new Director General of the Swedish Medical Products Agency. At the time, the pandemic hit one of its most intense stages and most news feeds were bursting with reports on vaccinations, side effects and clinical trials. As former Director of Health and Medical Services in the Stockholm Region, Björn was used to media communication, but during his first year in Uppsala he has also found time to personally approach the pharmaceutical community. One of his priority efforts is to intensify the collaboration across Dag Hammarskjöld's road, and he immediately accepted the invitation to talk at the new Faculty of Pharmacy seminar series.

Björn Eriksson, Director General, MPA
Björn Eriksson, Director General, MPA

“For the Medical Products Agency, close interaction with education and research is essential. Several initiatives are off to a very good start, but there is still plenty room for further development. This could mean shared positions, collaborations on PhD students, accepting degree workers and approaching the Faculty of Pharmacy's first cycle educations in different ways. A current example is our newly established Knowledge Center for Drugs in the environment, where we together created the freestanding university course Drugs in the environment.”

The course, one of several news in Uppsala University's ongoing investment in Lifelong Learning, responds directly to one of pharmacy's biggest challenges as drugs - in addition to help us live longer and healthier lives – can cause great harm. Via the wastewater, they reach rivers, lakes and fields. Once in the environment, they affect both plants and animals: In a recent study of insects in the Fyris river, researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy identified traces of 33 different drug substances.

“The pandemic and the Ukraine war are two extremely serious problems, but in the long run it is the climate and the environment that will determine our common future. If drugs can push entire ecosystems into imbalance, we must merge for rapid and joint action. At the same time, work is required on several fronts. For example, healthcare costs a large share of Sweden's resources, thus, more effective tools are required to prevent and treat disease.”

In his lecture Sweden as a life science nation, Björn Eriksson reasons about the government's eight priority areas to establish our nation along the front line of international Life science. The recurring terms include Skills Supply, Lifelong learning, Research, Integration of innovations into care delivery and Structures for collaboration.

“Sweden has the prerequisites we need to compete globally, but to reach the absolute top requires further efforts. This is also a socio-economically important discussion as this sector, that today account for eight percent of our national exports, has potential to contribute to further growth. The Uppsala-Stockholm region, which today constitutes the Swedish Life Science epicenter, is already operating at a very high level, and with joint efforts we can aim even higher.”

Facts Swedish MPA

  • Is the national authority responsible for regulation and surveillance of the development, manufacturing and sale of pharmaceuticals and other medicinal products.
  • Works to ensure that the patient, health care and veterinary care have access to safe and effective products that are used appropriately and efficiently.
  • Has assignments at national, European and international level.