A Study of Legal Regime on Pharmaceuticals in Environment: International and National Perspectives
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Development in the field of science and technology has benefitted the mankind by fulfilling its ever-rising needs. Law has also marched its pace in synchronization with the development of science and technology as it ought to shape its content in accordance with social values, aims and change with the changing requirements of the society. Therefore, the concept of development should not be adhered in such a way so as to exploit natural resources in unhealthy, unfriendly and unsustainable way resulting into depriving the future generation from their right to natural resources. The developmental needs of the mankind can be meted out with the integration of law, science and technology to ensure sustainable development. Industrial growth propelled by advancement in the field of science and technology has resulted into economic development on the one hand and adversely affected environment as well. Pharmaceutical sector is considered as one of the highlyregulated sectors in almost all the nations. However, deterioration in the quality of environment due to the presence of pharmaceuticals is an emerging issue, requiring the attention of global community. The lifespan of the humankind might certainly be referred as a positive outcome of expansion in the pharma sector yet it has resulted in germination of a conundrum due to its contrast with efforts to save environment against pollution. Pharmaceuticals are refined chemicals. These are manufactured, so as to be biologically active in living organisms. Their presence into the environment either directly or in the form of derivatives, poses grave threat to the environment. The management and extermination of pharmaceutical residues is one of the growing concerns as the pollution caused by pharmaceutical residues is emerging as a major factor for environmental degradation. Release of high concentration pharmaceutical effluents from manufacturing units along with improper disposal of unused or expired medicinal products and discharge of excreta are the major causes of concern. Though already existing legal and regulatory mechanism provides for the treatment of pharmaceutical wastes but v environmental footprints demand more should be done to cope with the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment. The present study highlights that there is a need to have comprehensive legal framework and proper policy implementation on various aspects of pharmaceutical pollution like waste disposal, returning unused or expired medicines, take back programs. The principles of international law on sustainable development such as Precautionary Principle, Polluter Pays, Environment Impact Assessment, Cost-Benefit Analysis and so on present the solution to this alarming problem. The researcher on the basis of analytical methodology has examined the legal scenario in context of the issue, prevailing at the international arena especially in the European Union and the U.S. The researcher has also attempted to examine the relevancy of existing Indian legal framework concerning the issue. The role played by the judiciary in recognizing environmental and health rights has been examined in the light of pollution caused by pharmaceutical industries in the Patancheru-Bollaram region in the Hyderabad. The healthy and clean environment is a vital nutrient for good public health and enhanced quality of life. Looking at the seriousness of the issue, global community is mounting to introduce new and tighter regulations on the pharmaceutical residues. Indian legal framework though tried to incorporate ‘Precautionary Principle’ by defining standards for emissions and effluents, yet there is a need to apply ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ along with Precautionary approach. Thus, the present study focusses on the legal regime in context of PiE requiring integration of law, science and technology.