Life cycle impacts and environmental fate of pharmaceuticals: Benign by design

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Benign by design

It is important that strategies to prevent pollution and limit the potential harm of pharmaceuticals on the environment are developed. An important principle of green chemistry is designing chemicals and products to degrade at a reasonable rate after use, so that they do not accumulate in the environment and are inherently 'benign by design'. Designing drugs that are degradable is however not a straightforward issue as the biological activity of a pharmaceutical compound is dependent upon its precise chemical structure and must also have the correct level of stability and a reasonable shelf life. This module looks at this issue in more depth and explores the scope for minimising the environmental impact of APIs.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module you should:

  • Understand how the 10th principle of Green Chemistry (design for degradation) relates to APIs and why it can be problematic.

and be able to:

  • Describe different strategies for reducing the persistance of APIs in the environment;
  • Describe the pros and cons of these strategies.