MEPS urge EU to tackle pharmaceutical pollution by making greener medicines

The calls for greener manufacturing and better waste management aim to reduce environmental impacts without affecting the effectiveness of the drugs

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for pharmaceutical companies to develop more sustainable pharmaceuticals that will pose fewer risks to the environment during their production and disposal.

They say the EU must work to tackle pharmaceutical pollution by making products more biodegradable, through developing greener manufacturing processes and better waste management techniques – however, the politicians stress any changes must not affect the effectiveness of the drugs.

Pharmaceutical products can pose harm to ecosystems as they cannot be effectively filtered by wastewater treatment plants and MEPs are particularly concerned about the endocrine-disrupting properties of many medicines that end up in the environment.

MEPs say measures towards more “sensible use” and disposal of pharmaceuticals should be taken to prevent not only environmental pollution but also to protect against antibiotic resistance.

They stress member states must share best practices in limiting preventive use of antibiotics and in disposing of unused medicines, emphasising that new processes and procedures should encompass the entire lifecycle of drugs, from design and production to their eventual disposal.

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