When looking at the life cycle impact of pharmaceuticals, there are three key areas for consideration:
- Life cycle impact of primary manufacturing – the synthesis of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API);
- Life cycle impact of secondary manufacturing – formulation, packaging, excipients etc.;
- End-of-life impacts – this relates to what happens to the API molecule post-patient and its effects in the environment, which can be subdivided into:
- Potential issues with contamination of human drinking water with APIs and their residues;
- The effects on organisms other than humans exposed to the APIs and their residues in water courses.
By the end of this module you should:
- Understand how each of the different stages in the lifecycle of a pharmaceutical product contribute to the overall environmental impact;
- Be aware of strategies for reducing environmental impact at each of these stages;
- Be aware of ‘hot-spots’ or areas of high environmental impact.