Effluent from drug manufactures contains extremely high levels of pharmaceuticals

J Hazard Mater. 2007 Sep 30;148(3):751-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.07.008. Epub 2007 Jul 6.


It is generally accepted that the main route for human pharmaceuticals to the aquatic environment is via sewage treatment plants receiving wastewater from households and hospitals. We have analysed pharmaceuticals in the effluent from a wastewater treatment plant serving about 90 bulk drug manufacturers in Patancheru, near Hyderabad, India--a major production site of generic drugs for the world market. The samples contained by far the highest levels of pharmaceuticals reported in any effluent. The high levels of several broad-spectrum antibiotics raise concerns about resistance development. The concentration of the most abundant drug, ciprofloxacin (up to 31,000 microg/L) exceeds levels toxic to some bacteria by over 1000-fold. The results from the present study call for an increased focus on the potential release of active pharmaceutical ingredients from production facilities in different regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry*
  • Drug Residues / analysis
  • Drug Residues / chemistry*
  • Drug Residues / toxicity
  • Fresh Water
  • India
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Sewage / chemistry*
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / statistics & numerical data*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity


  • Industrial Waste
  • Sewage
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical