Most of the main active ingredients of the medicines that we consume or throw away are resistant to waste water treatment in sewage plants. For this reason, they get into rivers and seas where they impact on aquatic flora and fauna, affecting fish reproduction or killing other living organisms.
In this context, I welcome the initiative of the Commission (COM(2011) 0876) to prohibit the disposal in surface water of specific pharmaceutical substances used in the treatment of serious illnesses.
In view of this:
How does the Commission envisage raising the level of awareness amongst European consumers with respect to the direct and indirect effects of their medication consumption on the surrounding environment?
Does it intend to create programmes to encourage responsible behaviour, both by consumers and by pharmacists, giving consumers a choice and enabling them to return unused medicines or medicines whose expiry date has been exceeded to pharmacies, instead of throwing them in the bin or down the toilet?