Gerd Maack works at the German Environment Agency in the unit Environmental Risk Assessment of Pharmaceuticals. In this function he assesses the Environmental Risk Assessment of new pharmaceutical applications of Human and Veterinary Medicinal Products, often in close co-operation with other national competent authorities and also the European Medicinal Agency (EMA). He also serves as a scientific advisor for the Ministry of Environment and the German Government.

 

What is your field of expertise?

Having a background in Marine Ecology, I am working now for more than 20 years in the area of Ecotoxicology and Endocrine Disruption. This includes the development of Test Guidelines on OECD level. For more than 10 years I am working in Regulatory Ecotoxicology, which involves beside others the integration of new endpoints like changes in behaviour but also the updating of the watch-list and the list of priority substances for the European water framework directive.

 

What do you expect from PREMIER?

I expect tools for a better and easier accessible information for a more realistic assessment of pharmaceuticals. This includes the sustainable development of a database containing the fate and effect data, necessary for assessing the potential environmental effect of pharmaceuticals. This database should be publicly accessible and be usable for future applications.

 

European Water Framework Directive

The EU Water framework directive (WFD) was approved in October 2000 with the objective to achieve good qualitative and quantitative status of all water bodies (including marine waters up to one nautical mile from shore). Water protection is therefore one of the priorities of the Commission. European Water Policy should get polluted waters clean again, and ensure clean waters are kept clean.

Under the WFD, the surface water Watch List (WL) is a list of potential water pollutants that should be carefully monitored by the EU Member States to determine the risk they pose to the aquatic environment and whether EU Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) should be set for them. This list should be updated every 2 years. The updated watch-list released in July 2020 can be found here.

 

Why did you agree to be part of the PREMIER Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)?

When I was asked to join the SAB, I didn’t need much time accepting the offer. Being part of the predecessor project, I think I can serve in another role in the PREMIER project by bringing in my expertise in regulation and ecotoxicology

 

What do you think are the current gaps in the/your field that PREMIER could fulfil?

The knowledge of ecotoxicological and fate effects of pharmaceuticals is still not satisfying and needs a boost. The development and at least as important the sustainability of the planned EU wide Ecotoxicology Database, could contribute in a more advanced Environmental Risk Assessment.

 

How could society at large benefit from the PREMIER products?

The results of this project can contribute to the European Union Pharmaceutical Strategy. This especially holds true for determining the feasibility of greener drug design and the identify environmental risk earlier within drug development.