The European environment state and outlook report (SOER) 2015 delivers a comprehensive assessment of the European environment’s state, trends and prospects, in a global context. It highlights a number of factors of concerns in relation to the pharmaceutical industry in it’s 20 year plus outlook citing:
Emerging pollutants, such as from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, may be a future concern, as may be algal blooms and pathogenic microorganisms.
Chemicals from pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other consumer products can have adverse effects on the environment and on human health. Endocrine disruption, which impacts the body’s hormonal system, is of particular concern. Unfortunately, the environmental pathways and potential human health impacts of these chemicals are poorly understood, especially when people are exposed to mixtures of chemicals, or when exposure occurs in vulnerable population groups such as pregnant women, small children and people suffering from certain diseases (EEA, 2011d; Larsson et al., 2007; EEA, 2012f; EEA/JRC, 2013). Reducing chemical pollution at source has become an important resource efficiency measure, as advanced wastewater treatment and treatment of drinking water is energy and chemicals intensive.
Apart from outright corruption there are many important reasons for regulation of the pharmaceutical sector. The links below are to a few stories that indicate the need for regulation.
Pharmaceutical companies make huge profits and as a sector it is matched only by the banking sector for the largest profits. Many of the worlds best known pharma companies spend more on marketing then they do on R&D: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28212223
The US Justice Department is so concerned about the marketing prowess of the pharma companies that it released a 2001 recording of a sales executive meeting for GSK which you can view here and the first 30 seconds speaks for itself.
When the US government brought in the affordable care act they also launched a website that patients/public could search to see what perks their doctor has received. It can be found here: https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/ A report into the site found some suprising statistics: http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/ The types of work doctors do for pharma compneis include partaking in clinical trials, giving speeches and directly workign for a company.
Here is a list of what the fees to doctors are paid for: http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/companies
As mentioned in the notes, corruption in the pharmaceutical supply chain is a constant concern not only to the industries reputation but also to the health and safety of the patients using the products (drugs or devices). Up to 40 million prescriptions are filled with counterfeits each year in the United States. The article linked to below is from the economist and is about corruption and counterfeit drugs in the industry and it’s impact:
This infograph below from create.org (The Centre for Responsible Enterprise And TradE) also illustrates where the vulnerabilities lie within the supply chain.