PDA supports Pharmacy Declares

Climate change impacts each one of us; pharmacists, our patients, our families, and our planet. The PDA is pleased to help promote “Pharmacy Declares” - a group of pharmacists inspiring the profession to take collective and individual action to play a part in addressing the climate emergency.

Fri 10th December 2021 The PDA

Pharmacy Declares is an organisation created for ‘climate conscious’ pharmacy professionals. It was established because so many professionals are concerned about the state of the natural environment and have an understanding of the immovable, solid relationship between that and human health; they will either suffer or thrive together.

Pharmacy Declares has three clear aims:

1. Pharmacy organisations to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’

Similar to providing a medical diagnosis, this clearly describes the situation faced and the urgency of action needed. The British government states that with ever increasing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, we face a world which is up to 4.8oC warmer at the end of the century. 1  Climate scientists estimate that should this occur, it will mean the deaths of billions of people, including 6 billion infants within the next 78 years. This event, which would dwarf world wars and pandemics, has been termed ‘Climate Genocide’.2

Pharmacy Declares believe that the profession’s organisations need to be honest and brave enough to declare a climate emergency so that pharmacy professionals can be fully engaged with the actions needed to prevent this catastrophe. The UK Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) became the first professional pharmacy organisation in the UK to declare a climate emergency on May 12 2021.The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) followed suit shortly after. The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has yet to comment.

2. Pharmacy organisations should split from fossil fuels and other environmentally harmful investments

Nowadays it would be utterly unreasonable for a health organisation to profit from tobacco or the arms-trade, yet many still have investments in fossil fuels. These investments, which may be in investment portfolios, banks or pensions, need to be viewed with the disapproval they deserve. Divestment would not only remove the financial support from these industries but send a clear, moral message, that health organisations care about the populations they serve. Other health bodies such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists have not only divested but have positively ‘reinvested’. They now only support organisations aligned with one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Their new ‘ethical portfolio’ not only acts as a beacon of health leadership but has financially outperformed their previous investments. 4

3. Pharmacy organisations & professionals need to provide and advocate for ‘climate health leadership and education

There is so much positive action that can be taken. In every area of pharmacy practice, there are options available for reducing the environmental impact of health provision. Medicine use is the most common health intervention used by the NHS, and medicines account for approx. 25% of NHS emissions. 5 As medicine specialists, pharmacists have to recognise the threat faced, and the potential of professional practice to deliver healthcare in a world shaped by climate change.

If you would like to find out more about Pharmacy Declares, what you can do to support health and reduce the environmental impact of the profession, visit www.pharmacydeclares.co.uk or follow the group on Twitter – @PharmDeclares

Notes

  1. Climate Change Explained [accessed 10 June 2021].
  2. Lovelock J and Anderson A in Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions, (Ed. Polya GM) Korsgaard Publishing, 2021.
  3. UKCPA Publishes Climate Emergency Declaration [accessed 10 June 2021].
  4. Personal communication, Mercer C, Director of Finance and Operations, Royal College of Psychiatrists. [30 March 2021]
  5. Delivering a Net Zero NHS [accessed 10 June 2021].

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