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Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

Limiting the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment is an environmental priority for Pfizer. Patient use of medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) is a leading source. Typically, a fraction of the medicines taken by patients is naturally excreted and may enter waterways following  treatment by a municipal wastewater treatment plant. To a lesser extent, pharmaceuticals can enter the environment through improper disposal of medicines and from manufacturing wastewater discharges.

We are committed to responsibly managing wastewater discharges from our sites and assessing discharges from supplier sites to assure that the research, development, manufacture, use and disposal of our medicines does not adversely affect human health or the environment.

Antimicrobial resistance:

Recognizing the threat to human health from antimicrobial resistance (AMR), we remain committed to the AMR Industry Alliance (AMRIA) roadmap, which demonstrates our commitment to manufacture our products responsibly and to provide transparency into our actions.

Our progress in driving a responsible manufacturing strategy, including risk assessments against science-based discharge targets (known as Predicted No Effect Concentrations (PNEC)), was positively recognized through the 2020 Access to Medicine AMR Benchmark.

We are committed to demonstrating that our sites and our supplier antibiotic production sites achieve published wastewater PNECs by the end of 2025. 

Working together

We continue to engage our stakeholders—including industry groups, the scientific community, regulatory agencies, patient groups, and nongovernmental organizations—to advance the knowledge of pharmaceuticals in the environment.

Since spearheading the formation of the AMR Industry Alliance Manufacturing Group in 2017, Pfizer continues to play a leading role in developing industry recommendations to address the potential environmental impact of antibiotic production through responsible manufacturing processes to limit antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In addition to working with AMR Industry Alliance (AMRIA), Pfizer is part of the Intelligence-led Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (iPiE) which combines the expertise of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Universities, research organizations, nonprofit groups and subject matter experts with the aim to develop frameworks that utilize information from toxicological studies, pharmacological mode of action and in silico models to support intelligence-based environmental testing of pharmaceuticals in development and to prioritize legacy pharmaceuticals for targeted environmental risk assessment and/or environmental (bio) monitoring. 

Learn more about pharmaceuticals in the environment

These organizations provide information about pharmaceuticals in the environment, including antimicrobial resistance:

Learn more about Pfizer actions on tackling antimicrobial resistance