Thursday, March 12, 2009

Web Seminar: The Role of PharmEcovigilance in Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Pharmaceuticals

Ilene S Ruhoy, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Touro University and US EPA Environmental Sciences Division

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

The prescribing and usage of medications have ramifications extending far beyond conventional medical care. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries have an environmental footprint because the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) can enter the environment as contaminants by a variety of routes, primarily from excretion, bathing, and disposal. Disposal of unwanted, leftover medications by flushing into sewers has been considered a secondary route - - one that supposedly does not contribute substantially to overall environmental loadings of APIs. This presentation is an examination of secondary routes of API release to the environment and for direct but unintentional human exposure. These routes include: (a) bathing, washing, and laundering, and (b) disposal of unused and partially used high-content medical devices. Understanding these secondary routes is important from the perspective of pollution prevention, as well as for reducing the incidence of unintentional and purposeful poisonings of humans and pets, and for improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.

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