House of Lords debate – Call for action on Pharmaceutical R&D and Environmental Impact

Natalie Bennet (Green Party peer) calls for action on pharmaceutical environmental impact and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), during debate on pharmaceutical R&D in the UK House of Lords. She referred to a recent quote by Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer, England) that not enough has been done to tackle AMR.

The debate highlighted the need for an “eco-directed” framework for pharmaceutical development and purchase – to consider the pharmaceutical environmental impact as well as medical efficacy, suitability, safety, and cost effectiveness.

Specifically to answer questions: How biodegradable is the drug? What is its ecotoxicity? What are the complete environmental impacts of its development, manufacture and use?

There was a call for up-stream action in the UK, noting the Stockholm City Wise List in Sweden which has incorporated environmental information into the regional formulary and pharmaceutical prescribing process.

For the UK to be a leader in research and healthcare – more action is required to consider the full impact on public and environmental health of pharmaceuticals in addition to immediate impact of treatment of patients.

Baroness Bennet acknowledged new work driving policy development on AMR and pharmaceutical pollution with Julze Alejandre (Hydro Nation PhD, Glasgow Caledonian University) and Emily Stevenson (University of Exeter PhD). Julze and Emily secured senior internships at the House of Lords, supported by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

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