DRUGS & DEVICES
Drugs, which include prescriptive and non-prescriptive pharmaceuticals, are a core part of patient care and are used throughout the health system.
Devices are also a fundamental part of patient care, both in outpatient and inpatient settings.
Drugs are a major cause of greenhouse gases in healthcare. The National Health Service in England estimates that medicines and chemicals contribute to 25% of their health system's climate emissions. A small number of drugs constitute the top contributors to these emissions, with anesthetic gases and inhalers making up 5%.
A concern regarding anesthetic gases is that they have not been included as reportable substances either in Canada, or internationally. Significant emissions also arise from manufacturing and transport of drugs. It is time for us to pause and review how we prescribe or use these drugs in clinical practice, and identify changes in practice which can reduce these GHG emissions.
Doing a medication audit is not only good for your patient, it is good for the planet.
Some anesthetic gases are worse for the environment than CO2. We spoke to three physicians about the negative impact of Desflurane - read the PEACH Byte.
Metered dose inhalers contribute to greenhouse emissions.
Significant amounts of medications are thrown out in the waste, or in the toilet!