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GSK: Pharmacists can reduce NHS carbon footprint of asthma inhalers

Community pharmacists can help to reduce the carbon footprint of asthma inhalers by informing patients about their environmental impact, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says.

Out of the two types of UK inhalers – pressured metered dose and dry powder – the former produces 18 times more carbon emissions, the manufacturer says.

Despite this, pressured metered dose inhalers take up 70% of the UK inhaler market – creating 3.5% of the NHS’s total carbon footprint, according to government figures.

A GSK survey in March of 550 healthcare professionals showed that 67% were unaware that pressured metered dose inhalers produce more greenhouse gases than dry powder ones.

Patients using inhalers should seek advice from a pharmacist if they wish to choose a lower carbon option, GSK said.

GP Steve Holmes said: “Halving the amount of emissions from inhalers would be equivalent to approximately 230,000 fewer cars on UK roads.

“It is really important to stress that there remains an important role for pressured metered dose inhalers where there is a clinical need or where dry powder inhalers may not be suitable for the patient,” he continued.

“However, where clinically appropriate, patients should be offered a lower carbon inhaler choice which, together with environmentally safe disposal, will make a positive impact on the environment. It’s time to take action.”

The NHS long-term plan committed to encouraging a shift towards dry powder inhalers to reduce its carbon emissions by 4%.

For more information, visit GSK’s #LowCarbonInhalers website.  

Did you know that pressured metered dose inhalers produce more greenhouse gases?

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