Many pharmaceutical manufacturers these days are making fewer active ingredients and purchasing them instead from China, India and other countries. The local water purification systems in these countries are frequently incapable of preventing hazardous and unhealthy substances from being discharged into rivers and lakes. One consequence is that bacteria spread throughout the ecosystem and give rise to resistant strains, a perilous course of events.
The Council on Ethics began collaborating in 2013 with the Church of Sweden asset management team and PGGM, a Dutch pension manager, to address the pharmaceutical industry and discharges of active ingredients. The Church visited Hyderabad, India in 2012 and concluded that water pollution was a major problem.
The initial focus is on a handful of manufacturers with production in emerging economies in order to more fully identify reasonable requirements for effective water purification by their suppliers and regular inspection of waste water discharged from factories.