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Scientists sound the alarm on pharmaceutical pollution crisis

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Our increasing dependency on pharmaceuticals comes at a major environmental cost, researchers have warned.

In an article published in the journal Nature Sustainabilty, researchers warn that discharges to the environment during drug production, use, and disposal have resulted in ecosystems around the globe being polluted with mixtures of pharmaceuticals, posing a growing danger to wildlife and human health.

While emphasising that pharmaceuticals are indispensable in modern healthcare and will remain crucial in the future, the researchers highlight the need for designing and manufacturing more sustainable drugs to combat this issue at source.

“A wide variety of drugs have now been detected in environments spanning all continents on Earth,” said Assistant Professor Michael Bertram, a researcher at The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and shared first author.

“Exposure to even trace concentrations of some of these drugs can have severe impacts on the health of wildlife and human populations, and has already led to severe population crashes in vultures throughout India and Pakistan, as well as widespread sex-reversal of fish populations exposed to the human contraceptive pill.”

Pharmaceutical pollution is a complex problem that demands a multifaceted solution. So far, environmental protection efforts have mainly been focused on upgrading wastewater treatment infrastructure to remove drugs before release into waterways more effectively.

Despite being an important part of an overall solution, wastewater treatment is unable to address this issue in isolation.

In the article, 17 leading international scientists call for an increased focus on designing greener and more sustainable pharmaceuticals to tackle this issue at its source.

“Because drug design is the first step in the life-cycle of pharmaceuticals, greener drugs reduce the potential for pollution throughout the entire cycle” said Gorka Orive, a scientist and professor of pharmacy based at the University of the Basque Country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dominos Are Falling – China Shutdown To Crush India’s Already-Crumbling Economy

Dominos Are Falling – China Shutdown To Crush India’s Already-Crumbling Economy

The supply chain shock emanating from China to other Asia Pacific countries and Europe, could become a major headache for India.

Bloomberg focuses on how an industrial shutdown of China’s economy has already had a profound effect on India’s economy and could get worse.

Pankaj R. Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila, said prices of medicine in India have exponentially jumped in the last several weeks, thanks to much of the medicine is sourced from China.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is experiencing massive disruptions that could face shortages starting in April if supplies aren’t replenished in the next couple weeks, Patel warned.

He said prices of paracetamol, a common analgesic, have risen 40% in India, while some antibiotic medicines have soared 70% since Covid-19 broke out in China last month.

Manufacturers in China have idled plants, and at least two-thirds of the economy is halted. Some factories came online last week with promises of full production by the end of the month, but for most factories, their resumption will likely be delayed. This will undoubtedly lead to medicine shortages in India in the coming months ahead.

A new theme is developing from all this mayhem – that is the reorganization of complex supply chains out of China to a more localized approach to avoid severing. But in the meantime, these complex supply chains in India and across the world will experience massive disruption caused by the shutdown. All of this points to ugly end of globalization:

Pankaj Mahindroo, chairman of the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), said the wrecking of supply chains in China could soon have a devastating impact on India’s smartphone production. 

Mahindroo represents companies including Foxconn, Apple Inc., Micromax Informatics Ltd., and Salcomp India, warned the “impact is already visible… If things don’t improve soon, production will have to be stopped.” 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Two Different Kinds of Healthcare–Part 1


The doctor visit and the pharmaceutical prescription​​ usually get us back on the job quickly and with a minimum of inconvenience.

Modern pharmaceutical medicine is like the medical equivalent of fast food ​– it’s fast, it’s convenient, and too much of it erodes our health over time.

​In contrast, at-home healthcare and natural remedies are like home-cooked, real food, in that they take more time and effort. They also ​work more slowly​, and they ​work best if there is already a foundation of healthy living habits in place.

​​Home healthcare ​and natural ​remedies ​may sometimes be less convenient, but over time they build robust ​health on many levels.

Recently, one of our children had a bacterial skin infection called impetigo or “school sores.” It took several weeks for us to resolve it, and there was a point in time when I was not sure that home remedies were going to be sufficient.

In my search for solutions I spoke to women who have dealt with school sores in their family and community, I did lots of reading, and I made an appointment with a doctor. That was our first doctor appointment since well before my children were born more than 11 years ago.

Everyone I spoke to and everything I read told me that I’d end up using oral antibiotics,because that was the only alternative to a long, traumatic battle with a dubious outcome.

I’m relieved and happy to report that although we did go to a doctor and receive a prescription for antibiotics, we never had to use it.

The experience left me pondering the contrast between these twovastly different kinds of healthcare, which led to this article.


On the one hand, we have at-home healthcare.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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