How Do Pharmaceutical Drugs Get in Drinking Water and What to Do About Them

How do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?

Have you read about this recently? “Probe finds drugs in drinking water” – this was in the news a few days back.

A number of pharmaceutical drugs can be found in our drinking water. These drugs are very strong chemicals and can cause severe harm to our health. But how do they get in the water in the first place?

To know the answer to the question “how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?”, we have to take a look at the lifecycle of the drug.

The first stage is the manufacturing process of the drugs. All the chemical wastes of the drug manufacturing units ultimately are disposed of in our water sources like rivers and lakes.

This is the first point where prescription drugs like pain killers, hormone enhancers, and anti depressants get added into our water sources.

Later when this water is used by our water companies for supplying to our homes, they do try to purify it by adding chlorine in it. Now chlorine may be effective at killing the microbes in the water, but it cannot remove any chemicals present in the water like the pharmaceutical drugs.

Another smaller yet significant source of these drugs in the water is – the traces of drugs that our bodies secrete. Any medicines that we take, our body is not able to absorb it 100%. Small traces of the medicine are still left unused and are released from the body by excretion.

These drugs then get added into the sewage and are still present in the water even after it has been cleaned and recycled for re-use.

So what’s the risk from them?

These drugs are very strong chemicals, designed for use by people having specific health problems. Any other person taking these drugs can face serious health problems like improper functioning of the organs and potentially life threatening complications.

What to do about these drugs?

The best way to get rid of these drugs from your drinking water is to first purify it by a good water filter.

Look for one that can remove all kinds of contaminants from the water – the pharmaceutical drugs, organic impurities, microbes and even heavy metals. A filter with the combined techniques of ion exchange, carbon filtration and sub micron filtration can do this effectively and that too without removing the natural minerals in the water.

Now that you know how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water, take steps now to protect your health from these dangerous chemicals.

The Economic Implications of Buying Drugs Online

Although the Internet is fairly new (at least to the mainstream) online shopping has grown by leaps and bounds. Now you can buy almost anything you need, from food to fishing equipment, right through your computer. Of course, this has meant that commerce has been forced to adapt to the changing consumer landscape and some industries have been scrambling to catch up with the crowd. It is no different for the pharmaceutical industry as online pharmacies appear to be popping up everywhere you turn. The prevalence of online pharmacies is a hot topic, especially when it comes to foreign-based companies selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to Americans for lower, more affordable prices. But in addition to foreign-based online pharmacies are a growing number of U.S. based companies offering medication to Americans – making it easier and more convenient to receive much needed prescription drugs.

What impact does this reality have on the drug industry in general and are the changes positive? The answer depends on what aspect of the industry you are involved in. Essentially, pharmaceutical companies who sell their products through traditional brick-and-mortar operations are worried that online pharmacies are only going to keep growing – taking a large bite out of their piece of the pie. For the most part, although the FDA and the big drug companies talk about safety issues and the legality of cross-border drug transactions, it really all comes down to money. It’s no wonder many companies, such as Pfizer, are threatening to restrict supply to Canadian pharmacies that sell discounted drugs to Americans in an effort to scare these pharmacies out of their revenue stream.

Trends do seem to point in the direction of continual growth unless something happens to dampen the excitement the online pharmaceutical industry is currently experiencing. Since the 90’s the industry has continued to flourish. For example, sales of Canadian drugs to U.S. citizens alone have skyrocketed over the billion dollar mark in the past few years and all signs point to this trend enduring. In addition, although these numbers only represent a dollar volume of 0.35% of the total annual U.S. prescription drug market, if Americans continue to use online pharmacies to fill their prescription drug needs it will have a big impact on the industry as a whole. And of course, countries such as Canada are enjoying the benefits of a large consumer base that has a reason to bring their business north. Many American online pharmacies even offer customers the option of obtaining Canadian drugs for lower prices through their sites. As you can see, people are being given more choices than ever before when it comes to buying prescription medications. Much of the power to control drug prices is slowly being taken away from the pharmaceutical companies and put into the hands of the people that matter the most – the consumers.

Organized pharmacy groups are beginning to voice concern over the practice as they see the economic consequences of such a trend, and the whole idea of drug distribution, as well as how certain goods, services and funds are transferred across the border. The main reason many people are flocking to online pharmacies is to save money. If the pharmaceutical industry wants to stay on top of things and keep customers buying the drugs they need through U.S. sources, they will need to change with the times by facilitating the introduction of more online pharmacies that cater to the U.S. market from within the U.S. They will also need to be open to more competition within the marketplace, and most importantly, make it more affordable for the average American to purchase the prescriptions they require.

It is clear that online pharmacies, both foreign and those based in the U.S., are in a position to benefit from an ever-increasing amount of business. Individually, consumers save money on drugs and can afford to put more money into the economy through other industries. Online pharmacies usually offer more choices especially in the way of generic drugs, and make it extremely easy for patients to obtain the prescription drugs they seek. Some senior citizens find it more convenient to shop online than venture out to the local pharmacy. At the same time, most people still choose to go the traditional route and buy their drugs in their own neighborhood, which still takes up the largest part of the market.

While online pharmacies are growing at an exponential rate, it will still be some time before a major shift from buying locally to buying online occurs that will drastically alter the way the pharmaceutical industry functions. In the meantime, consumers will no doubt continue to consider the options that are most economically beneficial to them.

Seniors at a Disadvantage When Purchasing Prescription Drugs Online

A recent national survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation in association with Princeton Survey Research Associates (PSRA) discovered that the digital world is still divided when it comes to seniors purchasing prescription drugs online.

The study found that approximately 30 percent of seniors (in this article, we define seniors as aged 65 and older) have used the Internet. However, 70% of their younger, seemingly more Net-savvy counterparts (50-64 year olds) are surfing the Net.

The dramatic differences between the two groups indicate that the next generation of seniors will be more able to make more informed online prescription drug choices, and that online sources of pharmaceutical information may become more important as these 50-64 year olds age. Currently, only 21% of seniors have, at one point in time, viewed an Internet site for health information, whereas 53% of their 50-64 year old counterparts have done the same.

The survey also found a link between senior’s annual household income and their propensity to go online searching for health information: only 15% of seniors in the $20,000 a year or less income bracket have searched the Web, as opposed to 40% of the $20,000-49,000 income earners in the same age group, or 65% of the $50,000 and over bracket. Unfortunately, most of the $20,000 a year or less seniors are also on Medicare (64%).

Prescription drugs online have become, in the past several years, one of the top health care topics searched, with 13% of all seniors having researched pharmaceuticals at one time or another. Only 5% of seniors, however, say that they have researched drug costs online, with the same number stating they’ve purchased prescription drugs online.

With the new Medicare reforms that enable the use of discount drug cards, websites such as the federal Medicare.gov have become crucial comparison methods for seniors looking to save money. And yet, less than 1% of seniors’ doctors have recommended prescription drug websites to their clients, but more than half of the seniors participating in the survey have received emails from pharmaceutical companies that advertise medicines, nutritional therapies, supplements or other health related items.

Purchasing prescription drugs online shouldn’t be a hassle for seniors, and yet when looking at these statistics, it’s fairly evident the digital divide still exists; at it’s most disproportionate the tools created to help the most disadvantaged are not being used. Even though more than 30% of seniors have stated that the Internet is something they “wouldn’t want to do without”, and more than half feel the Internet keeps them in touch with loved ones, they are still not using the Internet to research prescription drugs online – or as much as they could be.

Hopefully, with this new research and increased awareness from those who support people over the age of 65, seniors can start researching, asking questions about and purchasing prescription drugs online with little to no hassle or headache.

Copyright © Stephen C. Dayton 2005