Pharmaceuticals affecting Belgian water system require environmental risk analysis – Euractiv



Do you prioritize pollution prevention or human health? This is a question that explores the ethical limits of the Belgian pharmaceutical industry, and is at the center of a debate that explores the ethical limits of the pharmaceutical industry. Approval of new drugs if environmental risk assessment is found to be inadequate.

This question was posed by David Earnshaw of the MSD Policy Center in Brussels in a multifaceted discussion that highlighted the complex interplay between environmental concerns and public health imperatives.

Belgian candidate for Groen in the European Parliament, Jan Stools, refuses to frame “environment versus human life” as an either-or scenario, he told Euractic. Happiness as a new drug development. ”

According to Stuels, Flanders faces the problem of the presence of drugs in surface water, which has been proven in several research studies. The delicate balance between environmental health and human health is now increasingly considered in policy-making and industry practice.

Environmental pharmaceutical research in Belgium

Research by Professor Raf Dewil from the PETLab (Institute of Process and Environmental Technology) at the University of Leuven has revealed the presence of pharmaceutical residues in water.

Our waterways contain not only water, but also antibiotics, painkillers, contraceptives, and chemotherapy drugs that end up in wastewater after being consumed.

Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij’s surveillance network is keenly tracking these compounds.

Their findings revealed that approximately 20 different pharmaceutical substances are detectable in water systems. Remarkably, some sites show traces of 25 of the 26 substances measured. Essentially, our water contains a cocktail of drugs, the article says.

“Certain fish species have more males than females, or vice versa, due to the effects of hormone disruptors in the water. Also, carcinogens that cause cell mutations may be involved. There is also,” DeWill said.

“The impact is not limited to aquatic life,” he added. “We are consuming contaminated fish from these waters, and drug residues also find their way into our drinking water sources. We have to find a way to keep them out.”

We don’t know how harmful these drug residues are, DeWill said, noting that they exist in very low concentrations, are difficult to measure in the body, and their effects sometimes only become apparent years later. There is,” he explained. However, there is growing scientific evidence that long-term exposure to such small amounts of substances can also cause problems. ”

long-standing issue

AstraZeneca’s recent Statement on Medicines in the Environment acknowledges that trace amounts of medicines have been present in the environment for more than 20 years.

These levels are likely to rise further as consumption increases due to improved access to medicines and an aging population, the company reported.

“The production and emission of decomposition products after use has a significant impact on the environment and is harmful to our health. Recognizing this, it is important to integrate considerations of environmental impact throughout the life cycle of pharmaceutical products. I believe that is important,” Stool emphasized.

Mr Earnshaw stressed that businesses should do everything they can to protect the environment and satisfy regulators.

environmental risk assessment

In line with this perspective, the proposed new regulations would require companies to include an Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) as part of their marketing authorization request.

To ensure a thorough evaluation of these assessments, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocated the creation of a dedicated Special Environmental Risk Assessment Working Group within the European Medicines Agency.

MEPs also emphasized the importance of implementing comprehensive risk mitigation measures that address emissions into air, water and soil throughout the life cycle of pharmaceutical products.

In response to the European Parliament’s recent opinion on medicines legislation, Pfizer employees have issued a statement stating that “the European Parliament contains amendments that could undermine the legal certainty that we sorely need to improve our global competitiveness.” “I’m here,” he said, raising a warning sign.

They added: “This includes disproportionate conditions and obligations regarding supplies and shortages, environmental risk assessments and other critical areas for the industry’s ability to operate in Europe.”

“We are allies of industry in the process of bringing more pharmaceutical production back to Europe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have realized that we can no longer rely solely on global pharmaceutical flows. I realized that,” Stules said.

“But we also hope that the industry will be a collaborator in considering all aspects of health, including the importance of a healthy living environment for people,” Stules said.

Zakia Khatavi, Belgium’s Minister for Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, declined to take a position on the issue when contacted by Euractic. Belgium will hold the EU Presidency until the end of June.

[By Nicole Verbeeck, Edited by Vasiliki Angouridi | Euractiv’s Advocacy Lab]

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