By Sampaio, P.; Saraiva, P.
Quality in the 21st Century: Perspectives from ASQ Feigenbaum Medal Winners
This first chapter is devoted to the definition of the environmental problem, in size and depth, resulting from the consumption of psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Classification of pharmaceuticals and overall figures concerning production and consumption are presented, substantiated by national, regional and worldwide examples. The lifecycle of pharmaceuticals is addressed in order to justify the environmental impact expected from the generalized usage of medicines. A global explanation and discussion is presented to clarify the processes through which those molecules reach and accumulate in environment. Particular attention is paid to main groups of psychiatric drugs and their relevant physical-chemical characteristics in terms of environmental impact are listed.