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.

Online Courses in the Healthcare Industry: Educating Patients

For healthcare professionals – be it hospital staff, medical representatives or bio-scientists developing new drugs, online learning courses can provide training and support in a variety of ways. For patients and caregivers too, who are at the other end of the spectrum in the healthcare industry, e-learning has a lot to offer. While every healthcare organization has available literature providing detailed information on the above, patients are often not able to perceive or understand them well to take informed decisions. This is where online learning courses can come into play.

  • An illness of any kind is daunting for an individual. For the lack of time, doctors or nurses are often unable to sit with patients and discuss their options at length with them. Misconceptions and myths concerning certain illnesses also hinder an open face-to-face discussion. Online learning courses enabled learning allows patients as well as caregivers to gather information at their own pace and in a secure environment.
  • A number of strategies can be employed to put the learner at ease and help them understand their options better. For instance, we developed a course on IVF for one of India’s leading IVF specialists, where scenarios were built with real-life people, practical problems and solutions. The learners were informed about IVF, various procedures and their options with the help of these scenarios.
  • Information and interactivities within an online learning course can prepare patients for the meeting with the doctor. This shortens the time spent on making them understand the mundane necessities and can be better spent in actual face-to-face interactions. For instance, in a course on a debilitating gastrointestinal disorder, we included clinic forms which the patients need to fill to get treatment for the disease. Important portions of the form like healthcare insurance details, details of previous treatments and history of vaccinations were highlighted to make sure that the patients can produce these details quickly and take the minimum time to fill in the forms in a correct manner.
  • Perhaps the most important benefit of technology-aided learning for healthcare patients is that it makes understanding complex procedures possible, even if he or she is a layman. With e-learning, graphics and 2D and 3D animations can be used to visually re-create complex procedures and break them down to individual steps to aid understanding. The patients have the option of re-enforcing their understanding by reading up the material whenever they need and sharing it with their family and friends as well.
  • In addition to information on the illness, treatment options and procedures, online learning courses can also provide the much needed mental and emotional support for patients as well as their caregivers. By sharing coping mechanisms, important resources, links and practical insights that is available to patients and their families at all times, e-courses can provide long term support. This is especially important if the treatment options have a long term implication on the quality of a patient’s life.
  • With the aid of technology, we can also create a virtual community of patients and caregivers. Discussion boards, wikis or blogs can be created inviting patients and their families to share experiences. It can double up as a searchable knowledge repository, where they can search for information and share it further. This will help dealing with their illness better and dispel the feeling of alienation that often accompanies illness.

There are many ways of creating a technology-aided solution to help patients and their families. More and more doctors and healthcare providers are turning to these solutions to help their patients better.

Save a Bundle on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can and often are the largest medical expense in many households. I don’t think anyone objects to drug companies continuing to research and develop drugs that can improve our quality of life or even extend our lives. However, no one wants to pay more than they have to for their prescription medications.

Most people can save 50% or more on their prescriptions if they take a few extra steps and research their options. Being a smart shopper and plus a little insider-information can help you get the most for you medical dollar. Whether you have medical drug coverage or pay for your prescriptions out of pocket, you can learn a few techniques in order to save a buck or three on your next refill.

The first tip is to price shop. Prescription drug prices often vary as much as 25% from one pharmacy to another just down the street. Don’t assume that the big name superstores or drug chains hold a lock on low prices. Many smaller stores seek out drug wholesalers and pass these savings onto you, the customer, in order to get you into their stores where you will likely pick up additional items you need.

Do a little homework and find out if the drug store offers a discount ‘valued customer’ program. These VIP subscriptions sometimes are free and some charge a nominal fee and then provide substantial discounts, refunds, coupons or other incentives to shop in their store. On the surface, you drug price may be higher than another store that does not offer a loyalty program but when you consider the overall benefits and savings, you can come out well ahead on one of these style offers.

Buy Online

There is the potential that you can save a bundle by shopping for your prescription drugs online. Online drug retailers and wholesalers have a much lower operation expense and can offer 20% to 60% savings, sometimes even more. This requires some time to research and will likely be of more benefit to those who have ongoing prescription needs or have a chronic condition that will require long-term drug treatment. Just be sure that you buy from domestic providers that display the Verified Internet Pharmacy Provider Site (VIPPS) seal.

Buy Older Drugs

This does not mean expiring drugs, just older in terms of having been around for a while. Avoid new trendy drugs as these are usually the most expensive options. Unless there is a compelling reason to move to a new drug that does something that no other drug can do, opt for the less-expensive option. Sometimes new drugs are just a combination of two or more older drugs. Buying them separately can be significantly less expensive that the new combination.

Buy In Quantity

Usually, buying a 90-day or 180-day supply will be a lot cheaper per day than buying in smaller quantity. Ask your doctor if you can get a larger refill prescription if you are taking an ongoing medication regiment.

Go Generic

This may be obvious but drugs whose patent has expired can be manufactured by others and this will lower the price of the drug significantly. Always ask your doctor or your pharmacist if a generic-equivalent is available. This can really drop your prescription drug bills.