The global public health issue of pharmaceutical waste : what role for pharmacists?

Singleton, Judith A., Nissen, Lisa, Barter, Nick, & McIntosh, Malcolm (2014) The global public health issue of pharmaceutical waste : what role for pharmacists? Journal of Global Responsibility, 5(1), pp. 126-137.

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Pharmaceuticals have played an important role in improving the quality of life of the human population in modern times. However, it must also be acknowledged that both the production and use of pharmaceuticals have a significant, negative impact on the environment and consequently, a negative impact on the health of humans and wildlife. This negative impact is due to the embedded carbon in pharmaceuticals' manufacture and distribution and the waste generated in their manufacture, consumption and disposal. Pharmaceutical waste is comprised of contaminated waste (unwanted pharmaceuticals and their original containers) and non-contaminated waste (non-hazardous packaging waste). The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The article is a literature review.


The article identified a gap in the literature around pharmacist attitudes and behaviour toward the environmentally responsible handling of pharmaceutical waste.


Pharmacists, with their professional commitment to the quality use of medicines and their active participation in the medicines management pathway, already play an important role in the more sustainable use of pharmaceuticals. Even so, they have the potential to play an even greater role with the environmentally responsible disposal of pharmaceutical waste (including packaging waste) and the education of other health professionals and the general public on this topic.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 70581
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1108/JGR-03-2014-0009
ISSN: 2041-2568
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES (111500) > Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (111502)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright Statement: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 28 Apr 2014 22:58
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2015 07:16

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