Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
The treatment of many diseases in humans and animals relies on access to effective pharmaceuticals. At the same time, pollution caused by some pharmaceuticals is an emerging problem with risks to the environment and, particularly in relation to antimicrobial resistance, to human health.
The European Commission has presented the “Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment” with a set of actions addressing the multifaceted challenges that the release of pharmaceuticals poses to the environment.
The Communication identifies six action areas concerning all stages of the pharmaceutical life cycle, in line with the principles of the document of the Commission on “Sustainable Products in a Circular Economy”, where improvements can be made.
The six areas include actions related to:
- Increase awareness and promote prudent use of pharmaceuticals.
- Support the development of pharmaceuticals intrinsically less harmful for the environment and promote greener manufacturing.
- Improve environmental risk assessment and its review.
- Reduce wastage and improve the management of waste.
- Expand environmental monitoring.
- Fill other knowledge gaps, such as cost-effective methods for reducing the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment to enable their use in the circular economy.
The pharmaceutical sector is a vibrant industry, with a drive to innovate. Such innovation could support "green design", for example the development of products that pose a lower environmental risk or facilitate the recycling of waste water, and promote the use of greener manufacturing methods. In these respects, the approach will contribute to the Commission's political priority of promoting green jobs, growth and investment.
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25 September 2020
23 September 2020