Pharmaceuticals and pesticides both have a registration process based on science, both benefit human health, and both have environmental and health risks. Both technologies target particular biological functions, and in many cases they target similar molecular sites of action. Although pharmaceuticals and pesticides share many commonalities, pesticides are viewed much more negative than pharmaceuticals are.
Clarence Swanton, University of Guelph, ON, Canada, and colleagues make comparisons in terms of discovery and development, regulatory policies, environmental and human impacts leading to the result that the risk associated with either technology is similar.
They say that for pesticides risk perception is influenced by publicity, severity, and immediacy of impact and luck of trust in the information source, whereas pharmaceuticals are very personal, you choose to take them and voluntarily accept the risks.
- Similarities between the discovery and regulation of pharmaceuticals and pesticides: In support of a better understanding of the risks and benefits of each,
C. Swanton, H. Mashhadi,K. Solomon, M. Afifi, S. Duke,
Pest Management Sci. 2011.