Borderhealth.org may be a flagman of fair e-commerce trade of healthcare products, but we strive to become a leading purveyor of more environmentally friendly drug practices. Please share our vision of how the planet can be protected from preventable contamination by pharmaceutical residues on every level, starting from law-making authorities and running all the way down to consumers of pharmacy drugs, which is every single one of us.
My Canadian Pharmacy: a brand that proactively cares for environment
In its social and environmental responsibilities, Canadian Pharmacy dedicates considerable efforts to spreading awareness about the role of contamination of water and other natural resources by pharmaceutical products. We engage investors that help take a stand against irresponsible drug disposal, as well as reducing the impact of pharmaceutical industry on nature. Our drugstore financially participates in projects aimed at purifying wastewater from pharmaceutical residues and environmentally hazardous substances. These issues are part of global problems the mankind is faced with, and like with every other item on this momentous list, they can be helped by a cumulative endeavor on the part of manufacturers, officials, distributors and consumers.
We are proud that our customers display a high level of engagement and responsibility for environmental protection. This is when we feel that MCP is more than a company where one can shop for inexpensively priced drugs: it is a concept that incorporates global care on so many levels. Our pharmacy contributes to the restoration of balance with drug accessibility, helping out people of scarce needs receive access to adequate medications; we encourage our subscribers and guests to take a more active stand against the problems riddling the world’s population, and we influence drug manufacturers and authorities by lobbying qualitative changes in environmental protection.
Below we will speak about responsible disposition of medication that every user of pharmaceutical products should be mindful of. We hope that you will join us in our proactive stance towards preventable contamination.
What can be done to minimize the environmental impact of pharmaceutical industry
Internationally, there are examples of serious emissions from drug manufacturing. The biggest problem is in low-wage countries such as China and India, where large parts of the drugs are produced. But high levels of pharmaceutical industries have also been found in other parts of the world, for example in Europe and the US. My Canadian Pharmacy’s contribution to the fight against unscrupulous practices in drug production is to support manufacturers whose practices are aligned with environmental friendliness and terminate contracts upon the slightest sign of carelessness.
During and after use, most drugs are excreted from the body via urine and faeces. Sewage systems are therefore the main route of distribution of drug residues to the environment. The drugs are chemically stable and the treatment plants are not built to receive the drugs. The drug residues therefore pass through the treatment plants and follow the outgoing water without reducing the levels or changing their properties to a particularly high degree. Through the wastewater treatment plants, the remnants that end up in sludge can be spread to agricultural land. How large quantities are distributed in this way is unclear as is how much is then taken up by the crops.
Pharmaceutical packaging can be a source of dissemination if they contain residues of drugs. Medicinal waste (including packaging containing visible residues) is counted as environmentally hazardous waste and must be handled according to specific procedures.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing is largely done in low-cost countries such as China and India. In recent years, manufacturing has attracted attention because of emissions that severely affect the health and environment of animals and humans. This is partly due to an increased risk of multi-resistant (very resistant) bacterial strains.
A study from 2007 found a wastewater treatment plant in India that released a wide range of drugs at levels up to a million times higher (mg / liter) than those found in purified municipal wastewater in the US. Of particular concern were high emissions of broad-spectrum antibiotics that also spread to groundwater and drinking water in the area. Very high concentrations of drugs have also been identified in several other places in India as well as in China. There are also examples of high levels of wastewater from production facilities in other parts of the world.
Medicines with most environmental effects: pay extra attention handling those
The levels we find today in the environment are not acutely toxic to aquatic organisms. However, the risk of long-term effects cannot be ruled out. There will also be results that show that long-term exposure to low levels of drugs has effects on aquatic organisms. There is also a need for more knowledge of the weighted biological effects of various drugs in the environment. The ability of drugs to withstand degradation increases the risk that they will accumulate at such high levels that the environment is affected.
How dangerous they are varies between different drugs. Among the drugs mentioned today are antibiotics and various hormone preparations. Antibiotics in the environment can lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. These can then spread to disease-causing bacteria that become difficult to fight. They can then be a direct threat to our health. In addition, the natural composition of bacteria in the environment is liable to change. It can have effects on entire ecosystems.
Hormones inhibit the reproduction of aquatic organisms such as fish and mussels. Hormone disorders have also been observed in male fish that have been feminized. The effects already occur at very low levels (around 1 ng / l). In addition, other chemicals can also have hormone-disrupting effects on aquatic organisms, including phthalates, PCBs, dioxins and nonylphenol.
Veterinary medicines have basically the same properties as medicines intended for humans. The distribution is more local because the drainage systems are not loaded. Drugs with antiparasitic and antimicrobial properties are suspected to affect the environment.
Sometimes what is a side effect in humans can be the main effect of another species. The white-backed vulture was previously one of the world’s most common birds of prey. Today it is on the verge of extinction. This is because the vultures are eaten by dead animals treated with diclofenac, a drug that kills vultures’ renal function. Diclofenac has been banned in the area, but illegal use is still widespread.
Pharmaceutical packaging can pose an environmental risk if they contain larger or smaller residues of the medical product when disposed of. It also happens that pharmaceutical packaging is made from materials that are no longer used for other products, such as PVC. Medical technology products may contain parts and materials with negative environmental properties. Among other things, there are mercury, silver, surfactants and phthalates (plasticizers) but also electric motors, plastics and batteries.
Take personal responsibility for drug disposal: your contribution matters!
Remaining medicines that are flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage can cause great damage. E first treatment plants are unable to completely purify the wastewater from medicines, they can be spread to groundwater, lakes and our drinking water.
No large quantities of drugs are needed in nature for it to receive transmitters. It is known that hormones from birth control pills and hormone patches make certain fish species bisexual. Antibiotics give resistant bacteria a chance to grow and become resistant. It is not yet known exactly how different medicines affect the environment. That they affect, on the other hand, is absolutely certain.
In response to our customers who would like to know more about how to dispose of unused and expired medical products in a nature-friendly way, we have prepared the following guidelines:
Pharmacies collect leftover drugs and destroy them safely. Please use the Return of the Pharmacy or another transparent bag so that the pharmacy staff can easily see the contents. When you leave in medicine, you do not have to take a queue. Just give the bag to someone in the staff.
Empty tablet packages, so-called blisters, you sort by what it contains the most. If it is the most plastic, it should be sorted as plastic packaging and it is more metal as metal packaging. For more information about what you do with your leftover medicines, contact your local pharmacy or visit their web site.