Swedwatch highlights real cost of affordable medicine

ARTICLE | 20 November 2020

Swedwatch joined an online dialogue this month hosted by the European Parliament’s MEP Interest Group on Antimicrobial Resistance and argued for greater transparency and increased accountability in pharmaceutical supply chains.

Despite the alarming and well-known risks of pharmaceutical pollution, pharmaceutical products are exempt from various EU provisions regulating chemicals. Swedwatch has previously urged the European Commission to ensure that its upcoming Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe includes measures to hold importers and producers to account for impacts on human rights, public health and the environment.

During the dialogue Swedwatch researcher Yayoi Lagerqvist presented an overview of research findings published earlier this year which highlighted widespread environmental pollution from pharmaceutical facilities in India’s pharma hub Hyderabad.

“Affordable medicines here in Europe should not violate the fundamental right to a safe and healthy environment in other countries where they are produced,” she said.

She also addressed the urgent need to promote supply chain transparency, greater accountability of key actors, and the inclusion of environmental risk for manufacturing discharge within environmental risk assessments.

Other participants in the dialogue were from the Swedish International Water Institute, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Health Care Without Harm Europe as well as the Vice-Chair of the MEP Interest Group on Antimicrobial Resistance and the Deputy Head of the European Commission’s Unit for Clean Water.