Joint Press Statement on the EU Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

The members of the Inter Associations Initiative (IAI) Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (PiE) Task Force welcome the publication of the European Commission’s Strategy on PiE. The Task Force, which includes AESGP, EFPIA and Medicines for Europe supports the Strategy’s holistic lifecycle approach to minimising the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment and encouraging the stakeholders to lead, including by facilitating exchange of best practices.

Minimising the impact of medicines on the environment while safeguarding access to effective treatments for patients is a critical issue across all sectors of the pharmaceutical industry. It has been the driver behind the creation of the IAI PiE Task Force, the development of the industry Eco-Pharmaco-Stewardship (EPS) initiative and a number of projects, such as the #Medsdisposal campaign raising awareness regarding the safe disposal of medicines and Innovative Medicines Initiative project “iPiE” (Intelligence-led Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment) identifying and prioritising medicines that are most likely to present a risk to the environment. We are also working, directly or via our member companies, through the AMR Industry Alliance to monitor and manage potential risks from the production of antibiotics on the environment.

We broadly support the policy areas that the European Commission puts forward in its strategic approach on pharmaceuticals in the environment, most of which are aligned with the actions that industry has identified to effectively reduce possible environmental risks. These actions include increasing awareness and promoting the responsible use of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, monitoring the environmental impact through improved Environmental Risk Assessment (eERA), increasing data transparency supporting the environmental risk assessment, improving the collection of unused or expired medicines and supporting continuous research on the topic.

In addition, we welcome the strategic focus on improving water management and on expanding the monitoring of the environmental impact to cover certain parts of the environment, such as the gathering of relevant data in effluents from potential hotspots. We believe such measures would also contribute to improve water quality across Europe.

We are supportive of measures to foster research into the feasibility of greener products, and industry has been increasingly developing greener manufacturing methods bearing in mind that the safety and the efficacy of the medicines we produce must remain our primary objective.

The publication of the strategic approach to PiE gives the pharmaceutical industry another opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to minimising the impact of medicines on the environment and we look forward to working in partnership with the European Commission and other stakeholders across the areas of work detailed in the Strategy.

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