13 years have passed, what have happened and what’s to come

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Igår träffades Landstingens nätverk för Läkemedel och Miljö i Landstingshuset i Stockholm. Redan inledningsvis las en intressant tidsaspekt på arbetet med läkemedel och miljö. Examensarbetaren Sofia Schultz från Lunds Universitet, Miljö- och hälsoskydd, beskrev att hon som 12-åring år 2000 vid ett studiebesök på Käppala reningsverk bestämde sig för att delta i arbetet med att lösa miljöutmaningarna med läkemedel. Det har gått 13 år sedan dess – mycket har hänt som ni vet. Och visst kommer det att hända många intressanta saker de kommande 13 åren också. Det gavs på seminariet många exempel på vad som är på gång…

Johanna B and Therese O-S open the seminar

Johanna B and Therese O-S open the seminar

The County Councils’ network ”Pharmaceuticals and the Environment” met yesterday at Landstingshuset in Stockholm. The seminar, entitled ”Sustainable use of pharmaceuticals – today and in the future”, was led by Johanna Borgendahl from Stockholm County Council and Therese Olsen Ström from Uppsala University Hospital (Akademiska Sjukhuset). Already during the first lecture when Sofia Schultz from Lund’s University presented her Master Thesis, a very interesting time perspective was introduced. Sofia told us that in year 2000, when she was 12 years old, she visted the Käppala waste water treatment plant and became convinced that she would participate in initiatives on environmental challenges with pharmaceuticals. Sofia’s thesis regarding physicians’ knowledge, interest, roles and responsibilities regarding environmental programs will become available at Käppala’s website. And for sure, a lot have happened in the field during the last 13 years…

And it is very interesting to think upon what will happen in the next 13 years. My belief is, once again, a lot! Just look upon all the things that have been undertaken since the meeting of this network back in Dec 2010. It is an area of fast development. And Sweden has a very important role to play. The seminar yeatserday was a perfect proof for that. Bernt Björlenius and Marcus Frenzel (from MistraPharma and Käppala respectively) described waste water treatment techniques and community outreach/education programs today and in the future. Johanna Borgendahl (Stockholm County Council) described their program on identifying pharmaceutical substances of specific concern where screening programs in water are relevant. Pauline Göthberg described how the County Councils work to secure good social sustainability through-out the supply chain (read more here).

During the afternoon we heard Therese Olsen Ström from Uppsala University Hospital present the MPA resport on cassation of medicines in general, but more specifically on the roles of hospitals and County Councils to reduce cassation of pharmaceuticals. We met Fredrik Andersson from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and listened to his presentation of the environmental part of the Pharmaceutical and Pharmacy Inquiry (read more here). Marlene Ågerstrand from MistraPharma gave us an interesting perspective on the need for improved environmental risk assessments. This work was partly included in her PhD-thesis (read my blogpost from her dissertation back in December last year).

And then finally, I had the privilege to close the seminar with a presentation of LIF’s work on task 7.2 in the National Pharmaceutical Strategy. My focus of course on the development of an environmental assessment model for pharmaceutical products (read more in my previous blog posts on the subject, e.g. April 23 2013, Jan 23 2013, Nov 22 2012, Dec 6 2011, and Aug 28 2011).

Thanks a lot to Johanna, Therese and their colleagues for a very interesting and stimulating seminar!


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