PharmaSmart - Raising awareness and advocating for greener pharmaceuticals

Contact: Erik Ruiz 

Pharmaceutical pollution poses a significant global threat to ecosystems and human health. Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) can enter the environment at all life cycle stages: manufacturing discharges, excretion during use, and improper disposal. 

Once in the environment, APIs can impact terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as well as enter our drinking water. This leads to adverse effects on the affected organisms and contributes to the acceleration of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). However, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are not fully aware of the harmful impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment. 

Through education and awareness-raising initiatives aimed at pharmacists in Germany and across Europe, the PharmaSmart project will contribute to filling this knowledge gap and improving pharmacists’ ability to inform patients about correct pharmaceutical use and disposal practices.

This project will also support the development of better regulatory safeguards on pharmaceuticals in the environment that will be applied across Europe, including in Germany.

Main goals

The project aims to contribute to the reduction of the levels and impact of pharmaceutical pollution in the environment and curb the spread of AMR by building a network of sustainable pharmacists across Germany and Europe with three main objectives

  1. Educate and raise awareness among pharmacists on pharmaceutical pollution and their role in curbing it
  2. Mobilise pharmacists in advocacy and awareness-raising actions targeting policy makers
  3. Advocate for greener EU and global pharmaceutical policies 

Why is the role of pharmacists essential to curb pharmaceutical pollution? 

Pharmacists are central figures in the distribution of medicines to patients. They have a unique ability to shape patient behaviour and promote the responsible use and disposal of medicines. 

By harnessing this potential, pharmacists can help to significantly reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals being released into the environment, raising awareness of the environmental footprint of medicines and the importance of proper disposal.

Join the pharmacists for greener healthcare network

HCWH Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). Funds from UBA/BMUV are made available by resolution of the German Bundestag. The authors are responsible for content and related materials. The views expressed do not reflect the official views of the EC, BMUV, or UBA