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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET


A drug is a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body which promotes human health and wellbeing but certain pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have made their way into our nation's waters and are starting to attract negative attention. Drug pollution or pharmaceutical pollution is pollution of the environment with drugs and their metabolites, which reach the marine environment through waste.

Pharmaceuticals initially enter wastewater treatment plants from two key sources: the active pharmaceutical compounds and their metabolites are excreted from the body; and from the disposal of unused or expired medications down the toilet or drain. If disposed of in household waste, compounds end up on landfill sites where they may enter the landfill leachate. Other sources include agricultural runoff and industrial waste.

These pollutants are suspected to contribute to fish kills, amphibians die off, and amphibian pathomorphology. The scope of human exposure to pharmaceuticals and personal care products from the environment is a complex function of many factors. These factors include the concentrations, types, and distribution of pharmaceuticals in the environment; the pharmacokinetics of each drug; the structural transformation of the chemical compounds either through metabolism or natural degradation processes; and the potential bioaccumulation of the drugs.

Prevention of drug pollution includes:

  • Use of incinerator - low/no smoke, heat generated during incineration can be converted in other forms of
  • Take back policy - best method for general public to dispose of drug, specific places are allotted for collection of drugs from where manufacturers take up the responsibility of disposal
  • "From cradle to grave" policy adopted by companies e. manufacturers should pay and fund for not only production of drugs but also for their correct disposal
  • Adaption of "polluters pay" policy - instead of paying hefty funds for incorrect disposal, people should invest in proper drug disposal

Thus pharmaceuticals (and personal care products) in the environment and their future implications are very complex, involving many different aspects of chemistry, toxicology, ecology, medical science, public policy and perception, and consumer behavior. If we follow the advice of the precautionary principle which implies that “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically”. . Low cost measures should be taken first and those would probably not include infrastructure investments at waste and drinking water facilities. Minimizing the disposal pathways through take back programs could be more effective and less costly than extensive wastewater treatment facility modifications or other remediation steps. The continuous development of new medications, the escalating prescription of drugs, and population increase will only serve to amplify the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment

Aishwarya Navgire (F.Y.B. Pharm.),

Sejal Nikam (F.Y.B. Pharm.),

Sweta Nikam (F.Y.B. Pharm.),

Abhishak Pakhare (F.Y.B. Pharm.)

Adhyay Pandit (F.Y.B. Pharm.)

Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy