Revealed: How Dirty Production of NHS Drugs Helps Create Superbugs

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The NHS is buying drugs from pharmaceutical companies in India whose dirty production methods are fuelling the rise of superbugs, and there are no checks or regulations in place to stop this happening.

The growth in superbugs – infections which are resistant to antibiotics – is one of the biggest public health crises facing the world today, and pollution in drug companies’ supply chains is one of its causes. Yet the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established that firms with a history of bad practice and pollution are supplying the NHS, and environmental standards do not feature in NHS procurement protocols.

New tests on water samples taken outside pharmaceutical factories in India which sell to the NHS found they contained bacteria which were resistant to the antibiotics made inside the plants.

This suggests industrial waste containing active antibiotic ingredients is being leaked into the surrounding environment. Studies have shown how this causes nearby bacteria to develop immunity to the drugs – creating “superbugs” – and that those resistant bacteria then spread around the world.

Source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (link opens in a new window)

Health Care