Pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists must take responsibility for mitigating the environmental consequences of medicines, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) says. An official policy statement adopted by the FIP Council in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and released yesterday, specifies that this responsibility encompasses the entire course of medicines use, from manufacture and distribution to prescribing and dispensing, and to disposal and reduction of the discharge of metabolites of medicines into the environment.
The policy statement sets out a number of recommended actions for FIP member organisations (national professional associations of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences), schools of pharmacy, individual pharmacists and governments. For example, it recommends that pharmacists work to encourage rational prescribing practices, such as the use of starter doses and starter quantities and limiting the general number of doses prescribed (and dispensed) to reasonable amounts, and that they make counselling on the environmental impact of medicines part of their practice. The statement also highlights the contribution non-adherence makes to medicines waste.
The new FIP policy, “Environmentally sustainable pharmacy practice: Green pharmacy”, also says that “green” principles should be taught by pharmacy schools and it calls on governments to include appropriate environmental risk assessments as part of medicines approval processes.
“This statement of policy recognises the global challenge of the detrimental effect of pharmaceuticals on the environment. FIP believes that pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists are well placed to give meaningful leadership in conquering this challenge and urges them, national organisations and governments to do so, ensuring at the same time that any solutions do not compromise access to medicines,” said FIP Vice-President Ms Eeva Teräsalmi.