Alarming Study: Pharmaceutical Factory Pollution Accelerating Spread of Superbugs

Annabelle Bamforth – June 1, 2017

The issue of “pharmaceutical pollution” was recently highlighted in a study that points to inadequate waste management policies leading to the presence of both pharmaceutical products as well as drug-resistant superbugs in the waters of India.

The study, published in the scientific journal Infection, focused on the environmental impact of drug production in Hyderabad, a city in India that produces 40% of Indian generic drugs and 50% of the country’s exported drugs. India produces about 20% of the world’s generic pharmaceuticals.

This study was conducted to “determine the environmental presence of active anti-infective pharmaceuticals in a major production area for the global bulk drug market” and “document the ongoing environmental pollution by the pharmaceutical industries” in Hyderabad.

According to the study, low levels of drugs that include antibiotics have been found in the past to be present in the ground and in drinking water across the globe, and that improper disposal is a major cause of this contamination, including in India.