The Safer Pharma campaign was launched in 2016 by HCWH Europe to pressure the European Commission to publish the overdue strategic approach to pollution of water by pharmaceutical substances required by Article 8c of EC Directive 2013/39/EU. It notably included a petition open to the general public.
The campaign also aimed to:
- 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
Thanks to the pressure that HCWH Europe exerted via its Safer Pharma campaign, the Commission published a roadmap on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment in 2017 and added new pharmaceuticals to the Watch List of potential water pollutants under the Water Framework Directive in 2018.
In 2019, a pharmaceuticals in the environment database (PiE database) was added to the campaign website to bring together 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.
The Safer Pharma campaign ended after the Commission finally adopted the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment after 3.5 years of delay and the European Parliament adopted the resolution on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment.
The educational materials developed for the campaign and the PiE database have been transferred to the website pharmaenvironment.org where they are still accessible and updated.