Pharma companies have always been revered as the ideal companies to work with. After all they are responsible for producing the life saving drugs shielding us from life threatening diseases.Angel Isn’t it?
But lately many research studies have accused them of conducting irresponsible operations., paying no heed to the people and environment and Neglecting the local people’s health for their profits?
Let’s look at the truth.
Firstly let’s look at operation of an ideal pharma company
Apart from producing the live saving drugs, a pharma company also releases chemical laden solid waste and effluent. Now a responsible pharma unit treats this waste before releasing it in the environment i.e. solid waste is either incinerated, sold or dumped at a proper disposal site(treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF), while the effluent is treated in an Effluent treatment plant within prescribed SPCB limits. Also while incineration some harmful pollutants are released in the air which are captured by suitable mechanisms. Remember this treatment costs a substantial amount to a company. Any cost incurred means a lesser profit. But for good, ethical and responsible companies this cost is not more than the health of people and environment. A reflection of their strong moral foundation . Respect!!! Respect!!!
What few pharma companies actually do:
A recent study by CSE in Baddhi Barotiwala and Nalagarh (BBN) region has exposed many aberrations in operations of few pharma companies. These are:
- Improper disposal of solid waste
- Burning of solid waste in open
- Liquid waste from these units is also discharged through pipes and other outlets that open behind the plant or run underground and open into bushy areas. This released wastewater accumulates in or flows through nallahs, canals, and rivulets into the Sirsa river.
- Effluents are also injected into the ground at night by digging bore wells or released during rains.
Due to this, Not only sirsa river which flows downstream of Baddhi region is turning black and emanating foul odour but it is also becoming a grave concerns for “us”.
In BBN region,Many companies manufacture formulations, or finished products such as tablets and syrups. Some companies also manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or the main biologically active ingredient used in formulations, including antibiotics.
The poorly regulated discharge of untreated wastewater into soils and rivers is causing the spread of antibiotic ingredients which cause microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) to develop immunity to antibiotics, creating superbugs.
As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
Superbugs are able to travel quickly through air and water, aboard airplanes and through global food supply chains.
According to WHO:
- Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.
- The cost of health care for patients with resistant infections is higher than care for patients with non-resistant infections due to longer duration of illness, additional tests and use of more expensive drugs.
- Globally, 480 000 people develop multi-drug resistant TB each year, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria, as well.
By 2050, the total death toll worldwide as the result of contracting an infection that proves resistant to treatment is expected to reach 10 million people
Currently, effluent standards are limited to chemical contaminants such as heavy metals. APIs are not considered as a chemical contaminant. Laws must be made to ensure that there are no APIs in treated effluents.
With the news of creation of Bulk pharma drug park in Baddi the threat of AMR due to APIs in the environment will be more pronounced as Baddi expands manufacturing capacity.
This won’t only effect the residents of Baadi or Haryana but everyone including you , me and the same officials of Pharma companies are at equal risk.
The Sirsa River enters Himachal Pradesh state in the Solan District near Baddi and flows straight into Punjab and finally meets Sutlej near Ropar. My city receives water the same river. Oh f****
All the more reasons to go to Canada.
God bless us
Researches that link untreated waste to AMR:
- A study of wastewater factories in China and Hyderabad found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not only escaping purification but also breeding. For every bacterium that entered one waste treatment plant, four or five antibiotic-resistant bacteria were released into the water system, tainting water, livestock and communities.
- Another research found traces of antibiotics in treated effluent of CETP and Musi river, which receives effluents from WWTPs around Hyderabad.
- Another study, published in Infection in April 2017, shows that water samples from the direct environment of bulk drug manufacturing facilities were contaminated with antimicrobial pharmaceuticals and resistance genes.
- Resistant bacteria in samples from different manufacturing sites across India were also reported by international agency Changing Markets in 2016.
But pharma companies shrug off such findings.
This reminds me of Trump “Climate change is a hoax”
Read more at: http://www.millenniumpost.in/opinion/opinion-242616