Good for the environment good for health

Singleton, Judith (2015) Good for the environment good for health. Australian Pharmacist, 34(7), pp. 12-13.

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“First do no harm”. This phrase, attributed to the 19th century surgeon, Thomas Inman, 1 reflects an equivalent phrase found in Epidemics, Book I of the Hippocratic School, “Practise two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient”. Pharmacists have played, and continue to play, an important role in reducing patient harm from medication misadventures. Now, they have a new role to play. The delivery of pharmaceutical care contributes to climate change (e.g. through the embedded carbon in the manufacture and distribution of medicines, disposal of waste, and energy and water use),2 which in turn has a negative impact on health. 3,4 This paradox argues a moral and ethical obligation by pharmacists, to deliver pharmaceutical care more sustainably – do no harm. Sustainability “…. is concerned, on one hand, with resources and how we can preserve them, and, on the other hand, with waste products and how we can best reduce or dispose of them.” 5(p.37) It is about preserving and nurturing Earth’s resources and systems for this generation and future generations to enjoy. Pharmacists play an important role in preventative health strategies such as smoking cessation, promotion of healthier lifestyles and vaccination/immunisation programmes and have the potential to also play a significant role in delivering pharmaceutical care more sustainably. Sustainable pharmaceutical care may be considered a virtuous cycle - what is good for the environment is also good for our health. 5 The good news for community pharmacy owners and managers is that implementing sustainability initiatives in the pharmacy can also have significant financial co-benefits.

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ID Code: 85190
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: sustainability, pharmacy practice, carbon footprint, climate change, green pharmacy
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
Deposited On: 08 Jul 2015 23:30
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2016 23:16

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