Fact sheet: Approaches for veterinary pharmaceutical waste reduction and correct disposal at the prescriber and user level

EPRUMA promotes the responsible use of medicines in animals (www.epruma.eu ) and shares information on responsible use of medicines by promoting best practices to prevent, control and treat animal diseases, supporting animal health and welfare, contributing to food safety and One Health.

This fact sheet outlines approaches for veterinary medicines waste reduction and correct disposal at the prescriber and user level, with the aim of raising awareness on the need to minimise environmental impacts through the appropriate disposal of pharmaceutical waste resulting from animal health management.

Why is waste reduction and disposal important?
Proper management of pharmaceutical waste, from households, veterinary practices or at farm level, is an integral part of the responsible use of medicines and contributes to human, animal and environmental health and sustainability. Best practices that may be implemented by all operators of the animal health management chain to reduce pharmaceutical waste and minimise the impact of their disposal on the environment are therefore important.

There is a growing concern that the release in the environment of veterinary and human medicines may have an impact on ecosystems, animal, and human health, e.g., contributing to an increase of antimicrobial resistance in the environmental microbiome.

• In the framework of the circular economy policy, reduction of waste is a major objective.
• Improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste can contribute to this environmental release.

Existing national rules/best practice guidelines take precedence over the recommendations contained in this paper. Veterinarians, animal keepers and owners, pharmacists, retailers and operators should therefore verify the compliance of these recommendations with their national approaches. A non-exhaustive list of those national rules is provided in the annex to this document under “National Recommendations”.

The present document integrates the new concepts supporting good practice for the use of veterinary medicinal products laid down in Regulations (EU) 2019/4 on Medicated Feed and 2019/6 Veterinary Medicinal Products, applicable from 28 January 2022.