Health Care Without Harm Europe is creating a new network to work directly with pharmacists on greener and more sustainable pharmaceutical practices. This new network welcomes pharmacists to share their experiences, challenges, and best practice with each other and will coordinate specific advocacy activities to tackle pharmaceutical pollution and its contribution to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Building on the success of our healthcare professionals networks - Nurses Climate Challenge and Drs for Greener Healthcare, this new network for pharmacists will help to address the specific challenges that pharmacists face when implementing sustainability into their practice. Health professionals are among the most trusted voices in society and they hold untapped potential in driving policy changes for greener and more sustainable healthcare.
Pharmaceutical pollution threatens health and the environment
Pharmaceuticals can enter the environment at all stages of their life cycle: manufacturing discharges, excretion after use, and improper disposal. Once in the environment, pharmaceuticals can accumulate in fish, livestock, and vegetables, as well as enter drinking water, negatively impacting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Learn more about this study and hear directly from the author at our online conference, CleanMed Europe. The session Pharmaceutical Threats to the Environment will take place 5 June at 13:20 CEST.
Pharmaceutical pollution is closely linked to the development and spread of AMR, a serious public health threat annually responsible for an estimated 33,000 deaths and €1.5 billion in healthcare costs and productivity losses in the EU. Concentrations of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) have been found above safe levels for aquatic organisms and at levels of concern for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at a more than 200 sites globally.
Empowering pharmacists for greener pharmaceuticals
This new network forms a key part of our new project: PharmaSmart. The timing of this project importantly aligns with the revision of the EU pharmaceutical legislation, which forms a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that the EU regulatory framework addresses pharmaceutical pollution in the environment and the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Efforts to engage health professionals on pharmaceutical pollution and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) typically focus on prescribers. The PharmaSmart project adopts an innovative approach by focusing on pharmacists as key actors in reducing pharmaceutical pollution.
PharmaSmart project goals
- Increase awareness of pharmacists on pharmaceutical pollution and equip them with the necessary skills to take action, especially to inform and educate patients about appropriate use and disposal practices.
- Establish a network of committed pharmacists to actively engage in the EU policy debate on pharmaceutical pollution and AMR.
- Establish a robust regulatory framework on pharmaceutical pollution with more transparent and sustainable pharmaceutical supply chains, strengthened environmental risk assessments, and less waste.