Cutting emissions by drug industry is crucial to reducing NHS’s carbon footprint

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 03 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8243
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Two thirds of the total greenhouse gas emissions accounted for by the NHS in England come from sources not directly controlled by the NHS: drugs, medical devices, business services, and manufactured products have a far larger “carbon footprint” than do hospitals, ambulances, or catering. Drugs alone account for more than 20% of total emissions and devices another 8%.

The figures make it clear that the drug and medical device industry is important if the NHS as a whole is to reduce its impact on the environment. New guidelines (, just published by Environmental Resources Management, a leading consultancy in international sustainability, provide a systematic way of working out the greenhouse gas emissions for drugs and medical products, as a conference held …

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