Safer Pharma Campaign

Safer Pharma Campaign


Humans and animals are consuming greater quantities
of medicines (also known as pharmaceuticals) and worldwide sales have almost doubled in
the last decade. This figure is expected to continue growing
due to ageing populations and improved global access to healthcare. The specific substances in medicine designed
to treat illness are known as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, or APIs. These APIs are designed to be biologically
active in the humans and animals that take them but they can also have unintended effects
on other species when present in the environment. Pharmaceuticals can enter the environment
at all stages in their life cycle. Unfortunately, oral doses of pharmaceuticals
are never metabolised completely. Between 30-90% can be excreted as an active
substance in urine. Even low amounts of APIs in the environment
can have far-reaching effects in ecosystems, because water sewage systems are unable to
filter them out. This means that pharmaceuticals can ultimately
end up in our drinking water. Over 600 pharmaceuticals or their transformation
products have been detected in 71 countries on all continents. Pharmaceutical residues entering water systems
can spread to surface waters, agricultural land, and accumulate in vegetables and fish. Through water, soil, and feeding on medicated
livestock, animals and other organisms can be exposed to pharmaceuticals and experience
behavioural, psychological, and other effects in their cells and tissues. Humans can also be exposed to pharmaceutical
residues by consuming contaminated water and food. Waste in the environment from the manufacture
of one type of pharmaceutical in particular – antibiotics – is a reservoir for antimicrobial
resistance, or AMR. AMR occurs when microbes become resistant
to antimicrobial drugs, leading to ineffective treatments and persistent infections. We all have a role to play in reducing the
amount of pharmaceuticals in the environment. It is important that we understand the impact
of pharmaceutical pollution, and we demand that governments act to ensure pharmaceutical
companies clean up their production chains. Governments must act to protect us and our
families from this global threat to public health and the environment! The pharmaceutical industry is responsible
for its manufacturing waste released into the environment and subsequent contamination. By producing APIs outside of Europe, many
pharmaceutical companies have outsourced the problem. The pharmaceutical industry is uniquely placed
to tackle the source of the problem by taking basic steps, such as: Implementing higher
manufacturing standards; Ensuring zero discharge from production;
Producing different size medicines packs; Developing benign pharmaceuticals that rapidly
biodegrade into harmless compounds. Medical professionals, as trusted members
of our society, can also play a major role in preventing pharmaceutical pollution, by:
Optimising prescription practices; Educating patients to prevent the misuse and
overuse of medicines; Informing patients how to follow the correct
therapy of antibiotic drugs; Advising patients about the safe disposal
of medicines. Patients can also help to reduce pharmaceutical
pollution, by: Never disposing of unused or expired drugs
in the toilet or sink; Only buying over-the-counter medicine when
needed; Not stockpiling medicines that cannot be used
before expiring; Never taking antibiotics without medical advice. Share this video and let others know about
this cause! Together, we can protect public health and
the environment! Check out our Safer Pharma campaign today
at saferpharma.org and find out how you can help reduce pharmaceutical pollution!

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