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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.

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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.

Deprescribing

Doing a medication audit is not only good for your patient, it is good for the planet.

Resources

Deprescribing Guidelines

Anaesthestic Gases

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.

Resources

Here is a PowerPoint about the impact of Anesthetic gases

COP26 - Reducing the impact of harmful anaesthesia gases

MDIs

Metered dose inhalers contribute to greenhouse emissions.

Resources

Strategies to decrease MDI use

Pharmacy Waste

Significant amounts of medications are thrown out in the waste, or in the toilet!

Resources

Provincial Biomedical Waste Program