In the frame of the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Pharmacy, Ecologic Institute's Rodrigo Vidaurre and Konrad Götz from ISOE held a joint presentation on Requirements and impacts of an environmental information/classification system for pharmaceuticals. The last years have seen growing concern regarding the presence of human and veterinary drugs in the environment, particularly in water bodies. A system that provides environmental information on these compounds for different stakeholders is one of the possible approaches that can help reduce their input into the environment.
Rodrigo Vidaurre presented the results of a qualitative interview campaign with relevant stakeholders, focusing on the requirements – particularly the information requirements – they would have for an information system on Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. A key finding is that their information requirements in their day-to-day work show that such an information system should be more rather than less ambitious. Stakeholders require extensive and detailed background information and "raw" data, rather than general, aggregated information. ISOE's Konrad Götz presented the results of a Delphi analysis, in which interviewees expressed their opinions on the impact of such an information system and ranked its impact and relevance compared to other management options. The research was conducted in the framework of the PHARMAS project.
Pharmaceuticals are possibly the most prominent among a group of numerous chemicals called "emerging pollutants". The year 2012 has seen intense discussions on the uptake of 3 pharmaceutical compounds in the list of priority substances of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). However, the regulation of such compounds has to consider that they address human health. A possibility to help address this problem is a system that delivers information on the environmental characteristics and behaviour of pharmaceuticals in the environment, improving awareness and helping prevent their input into the environment and the overall management of this issue.