A questionnaire based study on the knowledge, attitude, and the practice of ecopharmacology among the healthcare professionals in a teaching hospital in India


  • Manjari Advani Department of Pharmacology, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Trupti R. Jadhao Department of Pharmacology, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1348-8239




Ecopharmacology, Environmental pharmacology, KAP study, Medicine disposal


Background: Ecopharmacology which deals with the health hazards posed by discarded or used medicinal products in the environment, is a globally emerging issue. There are guidelines for pharmaceutical waste management (Like GMP and FDA guidelines) for the manufacturing units, pharmacists and consumers. However, it is uncertain whether consumers are aware of it. Before beginning the process of creating awareness, it is first necessary to assess the existing knowledge of the issue in the community. This study was planned to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of ecopharmacology in the medical personnel and students in our institute.

Methods: It was a questionnaire based cross-sectional observational study. Study population included MBBS students, nursing students and resident doctors. Total 500 consenting participants were enrolled and subjected to a structured KAP questionnaire and data was expressed in percentage. Questionnaire consisted of 20 questions out of which 3 were open ended and remaining closed ended.

Results: Present study result showed that 73% respondents had heard of term ecopharmacology and majority (98%) felt that it was their responsibility to protect environment from pharmaceutical waste. Responses from 83% of participants indicated that they were worried about the excess medicines at their homes. 87% of participants threw it in garbage bin, but (58%) were unsure whether their drug disposing method was safe and 25 % knew it was unsafe. Most respondents (94%) felt that there should be guidelines for safe disposal of expired/unused drug and were enthusiastic about participating in campaign for this issue. Medical personnel also suggested some solutions to deal with this problem.

Conclusions: Awareness and concern regarding the problem is high however in absence of knowledge of methods of safe disposal of unused drug, it is not transforming into safe disposal practices.


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

Kadam A, Patil S, Patil S, Tumkur A. Pharmaceutical Waste Management An Overview. Indian J Pharma Pract. 2016;9(1):2-8.

Zuccato E, Chiabrando C, Castiglioni S, Calamari D, Bagnati R, Schiarea S, Fanelli R. Cocaine in surface waters: a new evidence-based tool to monitor community drug abuse. Env Health. 2005;4(1):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. Env Sci Technol. 2002;36:1202-11.

Castiglioni S, Fanelli R, Calamari D, Bagnati R ZE. Methodological approaches for studying pharmaceuticals in the environment by comparing predicted and measured concentrations in River Po, Italy. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2004;39:25-32.

Heberer T. Occurrence, fate, and removal of pharmaceuticals residues in the aquatic environment: A review of recent research data. Toxicol Lett. 2002;131:5-17.

Oaks JL, Gilbert M, Virani MZ, Watson RT, Meteyer CU, Rideout BA, et al. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan. Nature. 2004;427:630-3.

Taggart MA, Senacha KR, Green RE, Jhala YV RA. Diclofenac residues in carcasses of domestic ungulates available to vultures in India. Env Int. 2007;33:759-65.

Ocean A, Take D. Ecopharmacology : an issue that needs urgent action. Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2016;5(5):2288-9.

Bashaar M, Thawani V, Hassali MA, Saleem F. Disposal practices of unused and expired pharmaceuticals among general public in Kabul. BMC Public Health. 2017;17(1):45.

Seehusen D, Edwards J. Patient Practices and Beliefs Concerning Disposal of Medications. J Am Board Fam Med. 2006;19(6):542-7.

Boxall ABA. The environmental side effects of medication. EMBO Rep. 2004 Dec; 5(12): 1110-6.

The times of India. Antibiotics you throw away may be breeding superbugs. 2018;3. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/antibiotics-you-throw-away-may-be-breeding-superbugs/articleshowprint/65585501.cms. (Accessed on 26-3-19).

Guidelines for Safe Disposal of Unwanted Pharmaceuticals in and after Emergencies. 1999;(19):301-54. Available at: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/emergencies/unwantpharm.pdf. (Accessed on 26-3-19).

Press Information Bureau Government of India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 2019;2–3. Available at: http://www.pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=178039 url for ref 15. (Accessed on 26-3-19).

Azad MA, Ansary RH, Akhter A, Al-Mamun SM, Uddin M, Rahman MM. Disposal practice for unused medications among the students of the International Islamic University Malaysia. J App Pharmaceut Sci. 2012;2(7):101-6.

Kuspis D KE. What happens to expired medications? A survey of community medication disposal. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1996;38(1):48-9.

Kusturica MP, Sabo A, Tomic Z, Horvat O ŠZ. Storage and disposal of unused medications: knowledge, behavior, and attitudes among Serbian people. Int J Clin Pharm. 2012;34(4):604-10.

Ellis J, Mullan J. Prescription medication borrowing and sharing: risk factors and management. Aust Fam Physician. 2009;38(10):816.

Abahussain EA, Ball DE. Disposal of unwanted medicines from households in Kuwait. Pharmacy World Sci. 2007;29(4):368-73.

De Bolle L, Mehuys E, Adriaens E, Remon JP, Van Bortel L, Christiaens T. Home medication cabinets and self-medication: a source of potential health threats?. Ann Pharmacothe. 2008;42(4):572-9.

Glassmeyer ST, Hinchey EK, Boehme SE, Daughton CG, Ruhoy IS, Conerly O, et al. Disposal practices for unwanted residential medications in the United States. Env Int. 2009;35(3):566-72.

Returning unused and expired medications in British Columbia. Health Products Stewardship Association. Available at: http://www.healthsteward. ca/returns/british-columbia. Accessed 28 September 2016.

Macarthur D. Any old drugs? Two schemes for the disposal of unwanted medicines in Europe. Pharm J. 2000;264(70):223-4.

Lubick N. Drugs in the environment: do pharmaceutical take-back programs make a difference? Env Heal Perspect. 118(5):A210.

Persson M, Sabelström E GB. Handling of unused prescription drugs-knowledge, behaviour and attitude among Swedish people. Env Int. 2009;35(5):771-4.

Hwang BD. Storage and disposal of unused medications for housewives in the Busan Metropolitan City. Korean J Health Service Managem. 2013;7(2):69-79.

Smith CA. Managing pharmaceutical waste. J Pharm Soc Wis. 2002;5:17-22.

Tong AY, Peake BM BR. Disposal practices for unused medications around the world. Env Int. 2011;37(1):292-8.

Chien HY, Ko JJ, Chen YC, Weng SH, Yang WC, Chang YC, Liu HP. Study of medication waste in Taiwan. J Experimen Clin Med. 2013;5(2):69-72.

Seehusen DA, Edwards J. Patient practices and beliefs concerning disposal of medications. J Am Board Fam Med. 2006;19(6):542-7.




How to Cite

Advani, M., & Jadhao, T. R. (2019). A questionnaire based study on the knowledge, attitude, and the practice of ecopharmacology among the healthcare professionals in a teaching hospital in India. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 8(6), 1413–1418. https://doi.org/10.18203/2319-2003.ijbcp20192212



Original Research Articles