Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pharmaceutical-induced environmental contamination, 06/05/2024

  • 06/05/2024

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of News item titled "Impact of Pharmaceutical toxicity on the environment and its regulatory aspects" appearing in Current Science dated 25.02.2024.

The original application was registered on the basis of an article titled "Impact of Pharmaceutical toxicity on the environment and its regulatory aspects" published in the ‘Current Science’ dated February 25, 2024. The paper disclosed that pharmaceutical-induced environmental contamination needs urgent attention because around 43 per cent of global rivers are facing risks from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The continuous emissions are posing potential hazards to the environment and human health. It disclosed that pharmacies sometimes cannot filter all the chemicals used in pharmaceutical production (e.g. solvents, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), excipients, additives, by-products, intermediates). These chemicals cause ecosystem imbalances that give rise to chemical pollution in the environment. The article suggested possible ways for reduction of pharmaceutical waste.

The news item raised substantial issues relating to compliance of the environmental norms, especially by the pharmaceutical companies, the order said. Since, it is a PAN India issue, NGT directed notices to be issued to the Chief Secretary's of all the states and Union Territories of the country. Notices were also directed to be issued to the state pollution control board of all the states and UT's. All the respondents were directed to file their response at least one week before the next date of hearing (August 20, 2024) disclosing the compliance of the norms by pharmaceutical company, the regulatory guidelines in force, number of pharmaceutical companies in each of the State and number of such companies complying with norms and number of companies against whom action is taken for violation of the norms as also the proposed action for prevention of the environment from pharmaceutical toxicity.