Published 2017-10-31

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New investment in removal of pharmaceuticals

During its eight-year programme period, MistraPharma made great progress in mapping the complex environmental impact of pharmaceuticals. At the same time, technology was developed to remove medicine residues from wastewater. The Swedish Government is now following up these research successes with two new investments.

By the time the research programme MistraPharma was concluded in 2015, its scientists had succeeded in solving an advanced puzzle, with the result that, today, we have a much greater understanding of the complex environmental impact of medicines. The programme enhanced awareness of the repercussions that pharmaceutical residues in wastewater may have, and developed better removal techniques.

This knowledge is now being put to practical use in, for example, a new treatment works inaugurated in Linköping in August. It is Sweden’s first full-scale wastewater treatment plant, capable of removing medicines and other dangerous substances from wastewater. The cost of this investment has been SEK 25 million.

The Government considers the project a pioneering one and now wants to provide state support to enable more municipalities to follow suit.

The Government is therefore investing SEK 165 million over three years in treatment plants where installation of advanced wastewater treatment is planned. The money will be distributed through the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The Government is also investing SEK 5 million per year to establish a centre for medicine and the environment. The idea is that this centre will disseminate knowledge and promote dialogue on the environmental effects of drugs. The funds are going to the Swedish Medical Products Agency and the expectation is that the centre may come on stream during the first half of 2018.

According to the Government, the centre is a result and natural extension of the MistraPharma research programme.

Text: Per Westergård