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Reviews the information available in the literature on human pharmaceuticals in the environment, their occurrence, fate and effects, to highlight any gaps in knowledge and to recommend future actions, if required. Contacts were also made with research groups active in the field and consultation with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) was an integral part of the process. No detailed consideration was given to veterinary drugs due to significant differences in their nature, use and pathways to the environment. Nonetheless, the Environment Agency views the potential impact of veterinary drugs on the environment to be an important issue. In addition, no assessment was made of possible impacts on human health through drinking water as this falls outside the direct remit of the Environment Agency.