Pharmaceutical ecology is part of applied ecology and is designed to solve problems that arise in the process of pharmaceutical activities. The rapid development of the pharmaceutical industry in recent years also creates potential and leads to the generation and accumulation of pharmaceutical waste. According to the WHO definition, pharmaceutical waste is waste that contains medicines (medicines that have expired or are no longer needed, items that are contaminated with pharmaceuticals or contain them (bottles, boxes, etc.). genotoxic waste, which contains substances that have a harmful effect on genetic structures (cytostatic drugs, genotoxic chemicals, their residues and any material contaminated with them).
Medicines and their active metabolites constantly enter the aquatic environment through treated and untreated sewage. Most pharmaceuticals are not bioaccumulative, however, some of them are extremely persistent, while others, with low persistence, can produce the effects of real persistent pollutants with constant and long-term entry into the environment, since the rate of their transformation and removal is balanced by the rate of substitution, respectively. they are considered "pseudo persistent" organic environmental pollutants.
In the absence of an integral system for managing pharmaceutical waste and unsuitable medicines in Russia, these medicines, having become of poor quality, end up in landfills for household waste, in garbage bins, or are disposed of into a municipal sewer. Thus, there is a conscious pollution of the natural environment by man, not only of his existence, but of the entire biota, especially water, which is very sensitive to biologically active chemical pollutants. The treatment facilities are not designed for this type of pollutants, and the existing technological schemes for wastewater treatment cannot always provide a sufficient level of removal of these pollutants and therefore need modernization.
Waste from pharmaceutical production is generated throughout the entire life cycle of a medicinal product. For example, at the stage of development of 10 biologically active substances, up to 10,000 materials are used, but the largest amount of waste is generated at the stage of production of medicines, therefore, pharmaceutical enterprises in the process of their activities to a certain extent pollute the environment with emissions into the atmosphere and wastewater.
Medicines are an indispensable companion and, to some extent, an important factor in human development and the formation of all civilizational periods. Currently, the development of new drugs and their production have become a powerful branch of science and industry. For example, the world market for drugs only for the treatment of infectious diseases was estimated in 2007 at 66.5 billion US dollars, 2/3 of which came from the market for antimicrobial drugs. The volume of imports of antibiotic substances in 2007 in Russia amounted to 640517 kg in physical terms, in terms of value - 22.415 million dollars. The use of drugs in animal husbandry and poultry farming is great.
According to the American Associated Press, about 15 million kg of antibiotics were used in the United States in 2008, 70% of which were used in animal husbandry. According to a marketing study by Research Techart, about 3.5 thousand tons of antibiotics are consumed annually on animals in Russia. According to the research company Abercade, in 2009 the market for antibiotics for animal husbandry in Russia amounted to $ 53.713 million. tons of streptomycin and 6 tons of oxytetracycline. At the same time, 20% of plantings of apple trees, 35–40% of peach trees, 4% of pear trees were processed. The volume of the pharmacy market in Russia in 2010 reached 316.058 billion rubles. ($ 10.408 billion).
With such a quantitative and qualitative growth of the pharmaceutical industry and the widespread use of drugs, it is inevitable that drugs of both the old and new generations will enter the environment. Among the most possible and large sources of such pollution, one can single out the production itself (with insufficient wastewater treatment, in emergency situations, etc.), medical and pharmaceutical institutions (with improper disposal of medical waste), research centers, where new drugs are created and studied. , agriculture as an active consumer of medicines for livestock and poultry. Finally, the person himself contributes to the drug pollution of the environment by removing some of the drugs and their metabolites from the body, throwing out expired drugs, used syringes, ampoules, etc.
Uncontrolled intake of drugs into the environment can lead to negative effects on biota and humans. All this gives impetus to the development of a new direction in the study of environmental pollution: it is necessary to determine the content of drugs and their metabolites in the environment, as well as drug-like compounds among xenobiotics not used in medicine, and products of their transformations; it is also necessary to identify the real sources of drug pollution, ensure the purification of the environment, including water from drugs, and develop a system of relevant legislative and regulatory acts.
Most reports on drug contamination focus on drug groups such as antibiotics, sex hormones, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs. These groups of substances are capable in trace concentrations and with prolonged exposure to have a negative effect on hydrobiota and humans.
It is no coincidence that in different countries special attention is paid to medicinal water pollution. The ease of spread of drug pollution in water bodies, the transfer of pollution by watercourses, including transboundary transfers, effects on hydrobiota and, finally, the possibility of contamination of drinking water make water pollution with drugs 8 the most dangerous. In addition, a significant proportion of drugs and their metabolites are carried away by wastewater.
For example, the antibiotic lincomycin has been found in hospital and livestock effluents in the United States (2–6.6 mg / L). The antibiotics fluoroquinolones have been found in hospital effluents in the USA and Portugal (2–11 mg / L), in the USA, Portugal, and Sweden in wastewater treatment plant effluent (90–1,000 ng / L) and wastewater (<6–310 ng / L), and also in surface waters such as the Lambro Rivers in Italy (14.36 ng / L) and Mondego in Portugal (79.6-119.2 ng / L). Enrofloxacin, used in veterinary medicine, was found in sewage effluent (121.8–447.1 ng / l) and wastewater (53.7–270 ng / l) in Portugal and the USA, as well as in the surface waters of the river. Mondego in Portugal (67.0-102.5 ng / L). Oxytetracycline, an antibiotic approved for veterinary use, was found in the Po and Lambro rivers in Italy (248.90 and 24.40 ng / L, respectively). It can be assumed that in this case, medicinal substances entered the rivers through wastewater. It should also be noted that in the environment, for example, in surface natural waters, physicochemical transformants arise, as well as biochemical metabolites of drugs, generated, in particular, by hydrobiota, often possessing both independent pharmacological activity and new toxicological activities.
The low content of drugs in natural waters, however, is capable of creating noticeable doses with continuous exposure to biota and humans. The literature examines the mechanisms of action of very small doses of chemicals on various organisms. Without going into a discussion of such effects, we note two features of drug contamination in relation to antibiotics and hormones. When assessing the effect of long-term exposure to medicinal water pollution on hydrobiota and 9 humans, it should be noted that many studies show the development of bacterial resistance and the further potential emergence of cross-resistance between different classes of antibiotics in relation to humans.
Sex hormones are known to be initially capable of exhibiting their biological activity even at low concentrations. According to the results of numerous studies, it has been established that estrogens are most often found in water bodies, some of which can be produced directly by hydrobiota. As an example, we point out that reproductive disorders were noted, as well as an increase in the population of females compared to males in fish living in British rivers containing such compounds.
Thus, the development of science designed to solve problems arising in the process of pharmaceutical activity is extremely urgent. Each pharmacist, one way or another, has to deal with environmental problems arising in the process of pharmaceutical circulation. The task of real environmental
This program is to help pharmaceutical companies and industries use scientific and technical potential for systemic and innovative modernization of the pharmaceutical industry and increase the share of nutraceutical products and ecological functional nutrition based on the principles of naturopathy, health preservation, disease prevention and active longevity.
A more detailed course of theoretical knowledge, which is necessary for the successful solution of these problems in this area, you can find in the work "Ecology of the pharmaceutical industry".