16.

2 The role of the health sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management
(SAICM) towards the 2020 goal and beyond

Statement:

Honorable Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

The International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation is the leading voice of pharmacy students and
recent graduates in over 81 different countries worldwide.

IPSF recommends that the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management include initiatives
to combat medication waste, while addressing health sector priorities. UNEP and WHO should invest in
research and standardised methods to assess the impact of medication waste on the ecosystem and
human health. As medication experts, pharmacists can contribute and serve the research and
development teams. Pharmacy collaboration with other state actors to implement drug take-back
programs could provide a systematic medication disposal process for countries in need. The US Drug
Enforcement Administration collected over 365 tons of medications during a single-day event. These
programs serve a dual purpose - to decrease drug diversion and to keep expired or unwanted
medications from polluting the water.

IPSF recognizes the significance of the SAICM, as extensive amounts of waste continue to be produced by
the health sector. Chemicals used in drug development and manufacturing, as well as the final consumed
products, can contaminate the environment and disrupt ecosystems. Beyond the environmental impact,
health outcomes are affected by the increase in bacterial resistance due to long-term environmental
antibiotic exposure. Efforts to avoid medication waste could help WHO and UNEP put appropriate
actions with the SAICM priorities while also combating antimicrobial resistance.

Our members use and dispose of chemicals each day in the pharmacy, in laboratories, and while
compounding, so IPSF is taking action to address this public health issue. IPSF is launching a new
student-run Drug Disposal and Chemicals Management campaign, which aims to educate the public
about safe chemical and medication disposal.

IPSF urges those involved in SAICM to prioritise the impact of medications as chemical waste and
recommends an emphasis on prevention of such waste through continued research, public education
and medication take-back methods.

References:
1. http://www.who.int/ipcs/saicm/saicm/en/
2. http://www.who.int/ipcs/priorities/en/
3. http://www.who.int/ipcs/section_v_onlinesurvey.pdf?ua=1
4. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/medicalwaste/020to030.pdf
5. http://thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X%2813%2970020-2/fulltext’
6. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water
7. https://www.dea.gov/take-back/docs/NTBI%20XII%20FINAL%20Totals%20October%202016.pdf

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