New database for pharmaceutical in the environment initiatives

Pharmaceutical pollution contributes to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - a severe public health crisis estimated to cause 700,000 deaths worldwide per year and projected to overtake cancer as a major cause of death by 2050.

Pharmaceuticals in the environment are a global problem – over 600 pharmaceuticals and their metabolites have been found in the environment worldwide. They enter the environment (through water, soil, sludge, and organisms) at all stages of their life cycle and can end up in drinking water, and accumulate in fish, vegetables, and livestock.


Whilst pharmaceuticals are already damaging the environment with harmful effects on wildlife, another worrying impact of pharmaceutical pollution is the development and spread of AMR - microorganisms resistant to antimicrobial drugs.

As part of the Safer Pharma campaign, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe has produced a database that aims to provide an overview of current and past initiatives by local, regional, and national NGOs, European projects, and national/regional authorities of EU Member States to tackle pharmaceuticals in the environment and pharmaceutical waste (including in wastewater).

This database supports the key objectives of the Safer Pharma campaign:

  • Challenge the pharmaceutical industry to clean up their production
  • Raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals about the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment, encouraging rational prescription practices
  • Help citizens to understand the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment and how to safely dispose of unused medicine
  • Work towards transnational agreement to ensure the minimisation of pharmaceuticals in the environment.

Access the database here: