Need stringent guidelines for treatment of pharmaceutical waste, say experts

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 May 2018 09:06:22



Extensive usage and improper disposal of pharmaceutical drugs cause spreading of multi-drug resistant microbes


THERE is a need to implement stringent guidelines for treatment and monitoring of waste discharged from pharmaceutical industries, experts have said and asserted that plants are not adequately equipped to treat antibiotic content in the discharges.
According to them, surveillance and monitoring of these plants is virtually non-existent.

The experts have said that the Government urgently needs to adopt an anti-microbial resistance(AMR)-centric approach to waste management by treating active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) as a ‘critical’ chemical contaminant and that the existing laws need to be strengthened to introduce proper environmental standards. According to Banwari Lal, Senior Director, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), pharmaceutical wastes are generated during manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and formulations.

In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration approved about 10,000 pharmaceuticals with up to 3,000 ingredients for usage and are regularly applied by humans. Most common sources of pharmaceutical wastes into environment include disposal by patients and hospitals, livestock feed additives, agricultural wastes due to veterinary use, API and formulation industries, he said.
Extensive usage and improper disposal of pharmaceutical drugs cause spreading of multi-drug resistant microbes, he noted. In India, effluent generated from these industries are treated as per the pharmaceutical waste water discharge guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

He said the current standards unfortunately do not include antibiotic residues, and thus they are not monitored in the pharmaceutical industry effluent while there is also no consensus guidelines on the antibiotic residue discharge limits in industrial waste even outside India.

“There is a need to implement stringent guidelines in treatment and monitoring of waste discharge from pharmaceutical industries. Best available technology including advanced next generation methods need to be adopted by pharmaceutical industries to tackle the pharmaceutical waste management issue,” Lal said. He pointed out that companies should ensure that every level of the antibiotics supply chain must priorities environmental management. “In particular, the factories supplying intermediates or APIs must be required to prove that they are committed to clean production throughout the manufacturing process.