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Article

19 Feb 2020

Author:
Swedwatch, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

Time to hold pharmaceutical polluters to account

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Rising global demand for cheap medicine has increased the production of pharmaceuticals in low-cost countries. A large part of our antibiotics and other medicines are today made in India...

In the report The Health Paradox, conducted in collaboration with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Swedwatch met with local communities and environmental human rights defenders in Hyderabad... Many suffer from respiratory problems and skin conditions as well as decreased access to water and threats to their livelihoods.

Residents who used to depend on nearby lakes for irrigation, fishing, drinking and household use, stopped using the water when it became discoloured and foul-smelling...

Releasing untreated effluents into the environment is also a threat to global health...

Despite the alarming and well-known risks, the EU has no environmental requirements on the production of drugs sold on the European market, and there are few incentives for drug producing companies to monitor or report on pollution. The pharmaceutical sector is also infamous for its lack of transparency, which makes it nearly impossible for consumers to know how and where their drugs are manufactured – and to hold polluters to account...

Swedwatch and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation call on pharmaceutical companies and authorities in importing countries to introduce and enforce strict environmental standards in drug manufacturing. They also call on authorities in Sweden and the EU to enable the public release of supply chain information and environmental risk assessments for all pharmaceutical products available on their markets.