Published: 2017-04-24

Drug disposing behavior and awareness of the concept of ecopharmacovigilance among the medical faculty

Shubha Praveen, Gramle Amol, Shivakumar Reddy


Background: The ever-increasing impact of drugs on the environment has added an altogether new dimension of monitoring, assessing and documenting the known and unknown drug effects on our fragile environment in the form of ecopharmacovigilance. This study was carried out to document the drug disposing behavior and awareness of the concept of ecopharmacovigilance among the medical faculty of a tertiary care Medical Hospital.

Methods: A detailed, structured, anonymous questionnaire consisting of both open and close ended essential queries on drug disposal practices was prepared and response obtained from the participants which included an agglomeration of teaching faculty and the clinicians of various disciplines of the Institute.

Results: 97.87% of the participants obtained drugs in excess which included a majority of solid (68.12%) and liquid (31.88%) dosage forms. The maximum medicines obtained in excess included analgesics and antipyretics (89.36%), anti-asthmatics (15.22%), and anti-emetics (13.48%). 82.8% of the respondents were unaware of the proper drug disposal technique and 94.7 % of the respondents practiced open disposal of the drugs.

Conclusions: An abysmally low level of awareness about ecopharmacovigilance and unhealthy, irrational method of drug disposal was documented in our study. Appropriate training of those who handle drugs in hospitals and healthcare establishments is the need of the hour.


Drug disposal, Ecopharmacovigilance, Healthcare establishments

Full Text:



Silva LJG, Lino CM, Meisel L, Barcel├│ D, Pena A. Ecopharmacovigilance. In: Barcelo D, The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, Germany: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH and Co. KG. 2012:213-42.

Prakash V, Green RE, Pain DJ, Ranade SP, Saravanan S, Prakash N, et al. Recent changes in populations of resident Gyps vultures in India. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc. 2007;104:129-35.

Wise R. Antimicrobial resistance: Priorities of action. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2002;49:585-6.

Green G. Understanding NSAIDs: from aspirin to COX-2. Clin Cornerstone. 2001;3:50-60.

Joss A, Zabczynski S, Gobel A, Hoffmann B, Loffler D, McArdell CS, et al. Biological degradation of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater treatment: Proposing a classification scheme. Water Res. 2006;40:1686-96.

Zuccato E, Chiabrando C, Castiglioni S, Calamari D, Bagnati R, Schiarea S, et al. Cocaine in surface waters: A new evidence-based tool to monitor community drug abuse. Environ Health. 2005;4:14.

Kolpin DW, Furlong ET, Meyer MT, Thurman EM, Zaugg SD, Barber LB, et al. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance. Environ Sci Technol. 2002;36:1202-11.

Velo G, Moretti U. Ecopharmacovigilance for better health. Drug Saf. 2010;33:963-8.

Hignite C, Azarnoff DL. Drugs and drug metabolites as environmental contaminants: chlorophenoxyiso-butyrate and salicylic acid in sewage water effluent. Life Sciences. 1977;20:337-41.

Zuccato E, Calamari D, Natangelo M, Fanelli R. Presence of therapeutic drugs in the environment. 2000;355:1789-90.

Pawlowski S, Ternes T, Bonerz M. Combined in Situ and in Vitro Assessment of the Estrogenic Activity Sewage and Surface Water Samples. Toxicological Sciences. 2003;75:57-65.

Cleuvers M. Mixture toxicity of the anti-inflammatory drugs diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetylsalicylic acid. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2004;59:309-15.

Huggett DB, Brooks BW, Peterson B, Foran CM, Schlenk D. Toxicity of Select Beta Adrenergic Receptor-Blocking Pharmaceuticals (B-Blockers) on Aquatic Organisms. Archive of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 2002;43(2):229-35.

Christensen FM. Pharmaceuticals in the environment-a human risk? Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1998;28:212-21.

Woodward KN. Veterinary Pharmacovigilance. Part 3. Adverse effects of veterinary medicinal products in animals and on the environment. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 2005;28:171-84.

Boxall ABA, Kolpin DW, Halling-Sorensen B, Tolls J. Are veterinary medicines causing environmental risk? Environ Sci Techno. 2003;37:286-94.

Richard WT, Cook JC. Exposure to Pharmaceuticals Present in the Environment. Drug Information Journal. 2007;41(2):133-41.

Aherne GW, Briggs R. The relevance of the presence of certain synthetic steroids in the aquatic environment. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1989;41:735-36.

Rahman SZ, Khan RA. Environmental Pharmacology-A New Discipline (Editorial). Indian J Pharmacol. 2006;34(4):1-2.

Kummerer K, Velo G. Ecopharmacology: A New Topic of Importance in Pharmacovigilance. Drug Safety. 2006;29(5):371-3.

Daughton CG, Ruhoy IS. Accumulation and disposal of left over medications: A key aspect of pharmacovigilance. In: Rahman SZ, Shahid M, Gupta V, editors. An Introduction to Environmental Pharmacology. 1st ed. Aligarh: Ibn Sina Academy; 2008:101-7.

Sasu S, K├╝mmerer K, Kranert M. Assessment of pharmaceutical waste management at selected hospitals and homes in Ghana. Waste Manag Res. 2012;30:625-30.

Aditya S. Safe medication disposal: Need to sensitize undergraduate students. Int J Pharm Life Sci. 2013;4:2475-80.