PhRMA Defends Sustainability and Waste Management Practices

April 30, 2009
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a statement this week in response to recent media reports regarding the amount of pharmaceutical ingredients being discharged by manufacturing facilities into the environment.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a statement this week in response to recent media reports regarding the amount of pharmaceutical ingredients being discharged by manufacturing facilities into the environment. In the statement, PhRMA insists that “American pharmaceutical companies comply with environmental regulations as part of their New Drug Applications and manufacturing processes.” The process reportedly includes environmental impact evaluations and “extensive” data analysis.

The organization argues that an Associated Press story claiming drugmakers have released more than 271 million pounds of compounds into waterways, including those providing drinking water, is misleading and fails to mention key information. Responding to the AP story’s claim that the majority of the these compounds are pharmaceutical ingredients, PhRMA insists “the two most prominent substances mentioned in [the story] are primarily industrial chemicals, and their use as pharmaceutical is miniscule by comparison.” These two substances are hydrogen peroxide and phenol, which, according to PhRMA makes up 92% of the alleged 271 million pounds.

The statement also points out that the AP story fails to note the absence of health effects associated with the trace levels detected. “Only trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are found in the environment, and scientific studies conducted to date have not indicated any appreciable risk to human health.” Meanwhile, individual pharmaceutical companies are also posting statements about their environmental impact practices, including Novo Nordisk and Astra Zeneca.