In the right place, pharmaceuticals save lives and prevent disease, but it is now well known that pharmaceuticals in the environment represent a global pollution problem that poses a risk to both human and environmental health. Pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, or oral contraceptives, remain in surface waters, soil, and sewage effluents, which adversely affects wildlife, and contaminates food crops and drinking water.
Research has shown that over 600 pharmaceutical agents or their transformation products have been found in the environment worldwide.
Within the EU, nearly 4,000 pharmaceutical products have been authorised for both human and veterinary use; Europe is the second largest consumer of medicinal products in the world (after the U.S.) and the pharmaceutical pollution associated with their manufacture, use, and disposal is a cross-border problem.
In an effort to recognise the scale of this issue and within its responsibility to protect citizens’ health as well as regulatory obligations, the European Commission has recently launched a public consultation to assist in the development of a Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. They are currently seeking responses to the proposed options from a recent report about the Approach.
These consultations are a vital mechanism in the development of EU legislation and an ideal opportunity for EU citizens to have their say on the future of environmental and human health. By participating in the consultation, citizens can express their views on potential community level measures aimed at tackling risks posed by pharmaceuticals in the environment.
Submitting your response should not take longer than 20 minutes and all of the necessary details and information are included in this guidance document on the Safer Pharma website - www.saferpharma.org
Thank you in advance for helping to protect human and environmental health in the EU and joining HCWH Europe in the fight for more environmentally responsible healthcare.
If you have any questions, please contact HCWH Europe’s Pharmaceuticals Policy Officer, Adela Maghear: adela.maghear[at]hcwh.org.