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Hidden (p)Harma Industry Waste Creates Threat of Superbug Plague

Pharma waste forms a river that flows into a lake in India. PHOTO: Changing Markets and Ecostorm

The kakistocracy criminals have arranged for massive outdoor Petri dishes that create “unprecedented antimicrobial drug contamination.” Primarily centered in Hyderabad, India, the dumping of antibiotic residue in nearby waterways is driving the creation and spread of dangerous superbugs that have spread across the world. Chinese sites are also involved in these practices.

Around 170 companies involved in the mass industrial production of drugs such as antibiotics operate in and around Hyderabad. The majority of these companies are clustered in sprawling industrial estates along the banks of the Musi River. In and around the Patancheru-Bollaram Industrial Zone on the outskirts of the city, more than 30 drug manufacturing companies supplying nearly all the world’s major drug companies are based. Thousands of tons of pharmaceutical waste are produced by these factories each day.

The industrial waste from the mass production of antibiotics kill off non-resistant bacteria, leaving in its wake highly resistant and invasive strains to constantly evolve into resistant superbugs [aka antimicrobial resistance (AMR)]. Antibiotics of “last resort” — those used to treat infections that fail to respond to all other medicines — are also being found in the outdoor-waste Petri dishes. Resistant strains morph, move downstream and ultimately finds their way into drinking water and agricultural irrigation. From there, it’s spread around the planet.

This, in turn, creates more deadly fungus and bacteria for the human immune system to defend against. Developing more potent antibiotics is not even a stopgap, as the AMR strains mutate and end-run to even more lethal and invasive varieties.

Indian AMR Petri dish

Psychopaths Gotta Do What Psychopaths Do

The organization Changing Markets and Ecostorm tested water samples in Indian Harma manufacturing areas, and its results are shown on page 20 of their report. It shows high percentages of AMR at effluent sites. One company in particular stands out and is a major low-cost antibiotic supplier to the U.S. and Europe.

A recidivist polluter at its own production sites in India, it also imports the raw materials used for making antibiotics from dirty factories in China. With clear links to McKesson — whose biggest customer is U.S. drug retailer CVS Health — and an international network of subsidiaries affording direct access to European markets, Aurobindo is quickly gaining significant global presence.

Detailed examination of publicly available supply chain data and evidence obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests uncovered how antibiotics manufactured at or near these sites are being exported to foreign purchasers, including pharmaceutical majors like U.S. distribution giant McKesson and French company Sanofi’s generics arm Zentiva, as well as the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) and French hospitals.

Natasha Hurley, campaign manager at Changing Markets, said:

“The dumping of antibiotic manufacturing residues poses a grave threat to human health in light of the growing AMR crisis. The discovery of drug-resistant bacteria at Indian factories supplying European and U.S. markets also raises serious questions about pharmaceutical supply chains.

 “Major buyers of antibiotics, such as the NHS, must immediately blacklist suppliers that are contributing to the spread of AMR through industrial pollution and ensure that all drug companies take action to clean up their supply chains. NHS doctors and nurses are working around the clock to tackle AMR; it is shocking that the pharmaceutical industry is undermining their lifesaving efforts through shoddy and dangerous practices.”

German broadcaster NDR, which contributed to a study, identified 19 companies operating inside the area tested as suppliers of antibiotics to the European market. Of those 19, the bureau identified at least four companies that supply the U.K. and five that supply the U.S. Almost all the samples contained bacteria and fungi resistant to multiple drugs (known as MDR pathogens, the technical name for superbugs).

The amounts of antimicrobials found in the new tests were “eye-wateringly high,” said Dr. Mark Holmes, a microbiologist at the University of Cambridge. “The quantities involved mean the amount in the water is almost the same as a therapeutic dose.”

Various bugs in India contained a gene known as NDM-1; named after New Delhi, where it was first discovered in 2008. NDM-1 gives bacteria the ability to produce enzymes that break down carbapenems, a group of powerful antibiotics that used to treat infections resistant to other drugs. Bacteria that are able to resist carbapenems are called the “nightmare” bacteria by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because half of all people who contract a bloodstream infection die.

A virulent resistant fungus called Candida auris turned up and is spreading. From 2009 to 2011, a total of 12 C. auris isolates were obtained from patients at two hospitals in Delhi, India. Indian researchers wrote in 2013 that C. auris was much more prevalent than published reports indicate, because most diagnostic laboratories do not use sequence-based methods for strain identification. The fungus spread to other continents and eventually, a multi-drug-resistant strain was discovered in Southeast Asian countries in early 2016. The yeast is renown for its resistance to anti-fungal drugs and for its ability to jump from person to person.

So far, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result. Up til now, this is primarily because the existing antibiotic arsenal is overused.

But recently, a number of different superbugs — such as gonorrhea, CREs and strains of tuberculosis to name a few — no longer respond to any available drugs.  The growing prevalence of drug-resistant strains of T.B. is well documented. There were an estimated 480,000 new cases in 2013, of which the majority went untreated. The spread of resistant strains of malaria is similarly well documented. In 15 European countries, more than 10% of bloodstream Staphylococcus aureus infections are caused by methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA).

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control calculated that in 2015 there were 671,689 infections in the E.U. and the European Economic Area caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resulting in 33,110 deaths.

But rising drug resistance would also have alarming secondary effects in terms of the safety of childbirth, including cesarean sections, with consequential increases in maternal and infant mortality

When most surgery is undertaken, patients are given prophylactic antibiotics to reduce the risk of bacterial infections. In a world where antibiotics fail, this measure would become largely useless and surgery would become far more dangerous. Many procedures, such as hip operations, which currently allow people to live active lives for longer and may enable them to stay in the workforce, might become too risky to undertake.

Modern cancer treatments often suppress patients’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections.

Antibiotic use in livestock feed at low doses for growth promotion is an accepted practice in many industrialized countries but known to lead to increased levels of resistance.

The Bottom Line for Combating This Risk

You’re more likely to get a fungal or bacteria infection if you have a weakened immune system or take antibiotics. Up to half of antibiotics used in humans are unnecessary and inappropriate. For example, a third of people believe that antibiotics are effective for the common cold, and the common cold is the most common reason antibiotics are prescribed even though antibiotics are useless against viruses

Drug-resistant fungi and bacteria can come from contact with affected patients and contaminated surfaces or equipment. Bleach is a basic solution of sodium hypochlorite and a potent disinfectant when used in sufficient concentrations. To improve the safety of fruits and vegetables, wash them well by soaking them in basin with a small amount of bleach added, then rinse.

Kefir is a fermented drink that is one of nature’s finest probiotics. You should consider making it a part of your anti-Candida treatment, along with a course of good commercial probiotics.

Hospitals are Problematic

Pathogens — which typically sicken people with weakened immune systems, causing fever and chills — are “so invasive” that hospitals have to bring in special equipment to eradicate them, and at times even removing ceiling and floor tiles. There’s a stunning lack of transparency in reporting outbreaks:

The CDC, under its agreement with states, is not allowed to make public the location or name of hospitals involved in outbreaks. State governments have in many cases declined to publicly share information beyond acknowledging that they have had cases. States have the primary authority when it comes to public disclosure of these outbreaks — and they tend to opt out. This means, amazingly, there’s no public system for tracking and naming current outbreaks.

4 Comments on Hidden (p)Harma Industry Waste Creates Threat of Superbug Plague

  1. A possible solution, although not widely embraced by the big players, will be a Digital Ledger Tech based tracking mechanism. I am working on one at present for a textile, Having said that, this is not a novel technology. Its easily employed but faces the burden of transparency and displaying where all of the skeletons are hidden.

    In fact, among the best use cases for blockchain technology appears to be in logistics and supply chain.

    Just as “Fair Trade” is a marketing point, so will “Safe Origin”

  2. I am aware of these issues; but most of the details – the toxic lake in India is new to me.

    Most important takeaway: resist over-prescription of antibiotics – totally stupid to take them for a cold, anything viral – e.g. bronchitis; If you are in generally good health consider not filling the AB prescriptions you get – I have recently declined for a couple dental episodes (tho oral infections can be v dangerous) – I challenged my DDS on one and he mumbled something about “just to bring down the baseline pathogens” – huh? – I took my chances and decided not to wipe away the bacteria flora in my gut – that simply IS, to a large extent, your immune system — indeed, your gut itself is substantially comprised of bacteria – relatively little is “you”!). Use your judgment.

    I DO see some evidence at the Primary MD level that US Healthcare is starting to “get” it – I think you have to make a big fuss and shop around to get ABs for a cold these days. 15,20 years ago you would bring a sick 4 yr old in – you would leave with an AB prescription – they would not be allowed into daycare otherwise – you would need to show the script at the door.

    As to Probiotics supplements. Good idea in theory but there is some recent, apparently well-controlled research from the UK that says useless! – they simply do not “stick” in the gut. Go in one end and they all go out the other – they counted very carefully! Big Pharma distorted research? – Hard to say – use your judgment – kefir, yogurt (as real as you can get it) may be the better bet; save your money on the over the counter stuff.

    I honestly don’t know how you guys do this day after day; I arrived via Dr James Tracey’s Memory Hole Blog now 3, 4 years ago? – I hope none of you suffer his fate. A great resource for those of us resisting cartoon world.

    It just occurred to me in the last 24 hours – there is no “Donate” button here?! – Very unusual – I wonder why.

    As to me – I need a break – I will attempt at the stroke of midnight to return to interior exile. I will be back towards the end of the year or if I should hear of a 9/11 scale event – destruction of a major cathedral in Europe would do it – a “school shooting” would not (I almost completely missed “Parkland” – a month+ of screaming, emotionally manipulative headlines in our local “paper” – who needs it?!).

    At that time, I will look for the donate button – any chance of a “PO Box” ? – I would probably want to keep Visa out of it.

    Thank you and kind regards.

    • Although breaks are needed, we hope you come around more often than that- you are a good contributor.

      We tried running some advertising to cover some basic expenses, but that didn’t achieve any results. We doubt much would come in on donations either- and not worth the hassle. Plus nobody can accuse us of being in it for the money.

  3. What about virus medicines being prescribed for vestibular neuritis (inner ear inflammation causing vertigo)? The CVS pharmacy here in Tampa Bay Area dispensed Valacyclovir whose label says it was manufactured in Hyderabad.

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