Interventions to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Medicines: A UK perspective

Elsevier, The Journal of Climate Change and Health, 2021, 100079
Amelia Cussans, Guy Harvey, Terry Kemple, Mike Tomson

Many doctors are taking steps to reduce their personal carbon footprints, but few know how to tackle the high environmental impact of the care they provide at work. In particular, many are unaware of the wider impacts of medications we prescribe. Health and care services produce around 5% of the United Kingdom's total CO2 and the largest part of this comes from its supply chain - medicines and equipment. In addition to carrying a significant carbon footprint, pharmaceuticals have wide-ranging environmental impacts. Effluents from production and usage have been shown to have a damaging effect on wildlife and contribute to antimicrobial resistance. This article examines the ways in which healthcare professionals can intervene to reduce pharmaceutical pollution.