Navigation Links
Pharmaceuticals sold in Sweden cause serious environmental harm in India

Many of the substances in our most common medicines are manufactured in India and China. Some of these factories release large quantities of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical substances to the environment. There is an obvious risk of these releases leading to resistant bacteria.

Research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that Sweden is a major consumer of pharmaceutical substances from factories that fail to adequately treat their wastewater. As it is difficult to find out where the pharmaceutical substances are manufactured and how much is released, it is impossible at present for consumers to avoid contributing to this environmental harm.

These findings are presented in the medical journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and are highlighted today in a news article in Nature. Last week the research of the Swedish group became headline news in New York Times, Washington Post and Times of India.

"We used to think that pharmaceuticals that ended up in the environment mostly came from the use of the medicines and that the substances were dispersed through wastewater. We now know that certain factories that manufacture substances release very large quantities of active substances," says associate professor Joakim Larsson of the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg,Sweden, one of the research scientists behind the studies.

The water from the pharmaceutical industries is highly toxic

Joakim Larsson has visited the industrial zone near Hyderabad, India, an important centre for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical substances. Here his research team has taken samples of the water discharged from a treatment plant that treats wastewater from around 90 pharmaceutical factories before it is released.

"We have previously shown that the "treated" water contained exceptionally high levels of various pharmaceutical substances, including several broad-spectrum antibiotics. We estimated that the treatment plant released 45 kilograms of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin in one day, which is equivalent to five times the daily consumption of Sweden," says Larsson.

Such high levels of antibiotics in the water are a cause for alarm as there is an increased risk of spawning resistant bacteria, an issue of global concern. This can lead to those antibiotics that are invaluable today becoming ineffective sooner and not killing the bacteria of tomorrow. In addition, the environment is affected locally by the pollution; In another study by Larsson's team, published this week in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, they show that effluent diluted as much as 500 times strongly inhibit the growth of frog tadpoles.

The substances manufactured in Hyderabad are sold in Sweden

Where the active substance in a pharmaceutical product is manufactured is not public information, but the Swedish Medical Products Agency can grant exemptions for research purposes. The researchers analyzed data from the Medical Products Agency for all 242 products on the Swedish market that contained any of nine specific substances*. They found that 123 products contained substances from India and for 74 of the products, 31 per cent, the active substance was manufactured by one of the factories that send their wastewater to the treatment plant outside Hyderabad that was studied.

"The analysis shows quite clearly that a large number of medicinal products on the Swedish market is made by manufacturers that send their effluent to a treatment plant that does not treat their water satisfactorily," says Larsson.

We bear part of the responsibility

" Sweden, which is reputed to have some of the strictest environmental legislation in the world, like other western countries therefore bears a shared responsibility for the environmental problems the medicines we consume cause in India, for example," says Larsson.

But it is impossible for the individual consumer to know today whether a substance in a medicine he or she needs to take may have caused environmental problems in manufacturing.

"It is therefore important that the production chain is made transparent. If consumers are given an opportunity to choose pharmaceutical products they know to be produced in an environmentally friendly way, this could encourage manufacturers to become more environmentally friendly," says Larsson.


Contact: Joakim Larsson
University of Gothenburg

Related medicine news :

1. Lotus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Purchases Land Use Rights to Grow its Business and Reduce Costs
2. Indevus Pharmaceuticals Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2009 Financial Results
3. Skinvisible Signs Dermatology Agreement With RHEI Pharmaceuticals
4. Cadence Pharmaceuticals CEO Theodore Schroeder to Present at the BIO CEO and Investor Conference in New York City
5. Arena Pharmaceuticals to Present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference
6. ISTA Pharmaceuticals to Present at the 11th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference
7. MAP Pharmaceuticals Announces Expiration of Hart-Scott-Rodino Waiting Period for Unit Dose Budesonide Collaboration with AstraZeneca
8. Anadys Pharmaceuticals to Present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference
9. Transdel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Retains FLP Pharma to Lead Business Development Activities
10. Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Completes Merger with Novacea, Inc.
11. Major Shareholders Criticize Enzon Pharmaceuticals Management Team in Open Letter
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of ... With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX ... Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is ... an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world ... is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The ... and prominent nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, ... and helped advance the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Patients at Serenity ... have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the things that they are ... the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they wrote on index cards, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... The Catalent Applied Drug Delivery ... to integrate dose form selection in early phase drug development. The first of ... and bringing together the UK’s emerging life sciences companies, corporate partners, and investors, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) has ... Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and ... report to their offering. Boston ... scientific and others. --> The ... Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ... Global Cell Surface Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ... Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier ... Emerging Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: