The Guardian – June 1, 2018
Leaked documents reveal discarded proposals to ward off antibiotic resistance through closer scrutiny of drug firms.
The EU has scrapped plans for a clampdown on pharmaceutical pollution that contributes to the spread of deadly superbugs.
Plans to monitor farm and pharmaceutical companies, to add environmental standards to EU medical product rules and to oblige environmental risk assessments for drugs used by humans have all been discarded, leaked documents seen by the Guardian reveal.
An estimated 700,000 people die every year from antimicrobial resistance, partly due to drug-resistant bacteria created by the overuse, misuse and dumping of antibiotics.
The UK’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned that failing to act could lead to a post-antibiotic apocalypse, spelling “the end of modern medicine” as routine infections defy effective treatment.
Some studies predict that antimicrobial resistance could cost $100tn (£75tn) between now and 2050, with the annual death toll reaching 10 million over that period.
An EU strategy for pharmaceuticals in the environment was supposed to propose ways to avert the threat, but leaked material shows that a raft of ideas contained in an early draft have since been diluted or deleted.
The European Union has voted for a permanent ban on pesticides that are harmful to bees.
Campaigners call it a ‘tremendous victory’ for the environment, while pesticide company Bayer calls it a sad day for Europe and its farmers.
Fruit and vegetable crops are pollinated by bees and other insects, but modern farming techniques have been blamed for a steady decline in their numbers.
“Glyphosate will be the final nail in Brussels’ coffin.” It was in such categorical terms that Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná spoke at the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, hours after the European Union approved the use of the chemical for another five years. It is the culmination of a battle pitting corporate interests and political manoeuvring against the health of European citizens.
“The people who are supposed to protect us from dangerous pesticides have failed to do their jobs.”
Green groups and public health advocates on Monday denounced the European Commission’s vote in favor of extending the license of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide which scientists have labeled as a “likely carcinogen.”
‘Historical Mistake’: Green Groups Decry EU’s Glyphosate License Extension
A new report by the toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing shows that the EU authorities violated their own rules and disregarded evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic to reach a conclusion that the chemical does not cause cancer.