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“For too long, the negative impact of the healthcare sector on our environment has been a marginal topic.” So said Paul Sinclair, president of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), today, during the presidential address at the opening of FIP’s 81st World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brisbane, Australia.
In his first speech as FIP president, Mr Sinclair pointed to increasing incidences of extreme weather and highlighted that poor planetary health is leading to more people needing health care and to the emergence of new health problems. “Effective action on climate change must be a priority for the pharmacy profession. Every part of pharmacy has a responsibility. From pharmacy associations promoting environmental sustainability and the industry reducing its carbon emissions to net zero, to pharmaceutical scientists practising green medicines development, and regulators collecting standardised national data on pollution. From educators teaching environmentally sustainable pharmacy practice, to practitioners preventing waste through ensuring the optimal use of medicines. Every act will help. We can support the planet while supporting patients,” he said.
The new FIP president explained that sustainability requires economic viability, environmental protection and social equity, but also basic human needs such as health care to be met. “Health systems must become more efficient. Many needs could be met by pharmacists,” he added. He underlined primary health care as a cornerstone of sustainable health systems and universal health coverage, but also emphasised the importance of workforce, education, technology, research, collaboration and funding.
Mr Sinclair urged the pharmacy profession to remain as united against challenges, as it had been during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to build a sustainable future for health care. “FIP is confident that our profession will provide solutions to many health challenges,” he said. Find out more about FIP’s “SustainabilityRx” programme of work here.
A recording of the opening ceremony is available here.