Reducing carbon emissions in hospital pharmacy

Written by | 2 Apr 2024 | Conference Highlights

28th EAHP Congress Highlights

The theme of the 28th EAHP congress was Sustainable healthcare – opportunities and strategies and two posters addressed different approaches to sustainability issues in hospital pharmacy.

Anna Harjans and colleagues, Heidelberg, Germany) described a project to reduce the number of metered dose inhalers (MDIs) issued by the hospital pharmacy. The rationale for this was that the propellant norflurane, which is commonly used in MDIs, has a Global Warming Potential 1,430 times greater than carbon dioxide. After a careful analysis of the products in the hospital formulary, one MDI was replaced by an equivalent dry powder inhaler (DPI). The authors calculated that this change enabled the hospital pharmacy to reduce CO2 emissions by 2,921.9 Kg in the year following the change. 

Another approach to the sustainability issue was the development and testing of environmental criteria for the drug purchasing process.  Outi Lapatto-Reiniluoto and colleagues (Helsinki, Finland) described how this was done with six simple questions requiring yes/no/don’t know answers that were scored 2,1 or 0. An example of a question was: Does the company have a plan to reduce CO2 emissions caused by itself? Two additional questions were added for companies supplying antibiotics. For example, one question required the company to specify where the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) was made. The rationale for this being that it was necessary for a company to know this in order to take responsibility for the wastewater treatment of its products.

A total of 172 companies responded with 65 achieving the maximum 12 points and 38 achieving 0 points.  The authors noted wide variations in responses to the questions about antibiotics. Fifteen out of 41 companies were not able to provide acceptable answers. This study showed that the questions could be answered easily and now discussion is needed to determine how they should be used. For example, responsible companies might be rewarded and those who are unable to answer the questions might be excluded, the authors suggested.


The 28th EAHP Congress took place in Bordeaux, France 20th-22nd March 2024. The congress theme was: Sustainable healthcare – opportunities and strategies.

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