Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are calling for further development of “greener” pharmaceuticals, which are as effective for patients but less harmful to the environment.
They are urging the EU to tackle pharmaceutical pollution by making products more biodegradable whilst not impairing their efficacy.
MEPs say measures towards more “sensible use” and disposal of pharmaceuticals should be taken to prevent risks to the environment and public health, calling for the development of greener manufacturing and better waste management across the EU.
They stress pharmaceutical products both harm ecosystems and reduce their future effectiveness, for example, by causing antibiotic resistance.
Medicines can affect water bodies as they cannot be effectively filtered by wastewater treatment plants and despite often low concentrations, there is a risk that patient health can be affected in the long term.
MEPs are particularly concerned the endocrine-disrupting properties of many medicines end up in the environment.
They are calling on member states to share best practices in limiting preventive use of antibiotics and in disposing of unused medicines and encouraging doctors and veterinarians to provide information on how to properly dispose of unused medicines.
They believe measures to reduce pollution should not only include end-of-pipe controls, for example, improved wastewater treatment, but encompass the entire lifecycle of drugs, from design and production to disposal.