The Pharmaceutical industry in the environment

Conservation of the environment matters

The environment is a very talked about topic in recent decades and the change that is taking place in different aspects remains latent, from climate change to the depletion of natural resources such as water or oil.

Known Solutions

Recycling, reuse and recovery are key to the conservation of the environment, and the solution lies in the re-education of society.

For this reason, if we all create new habits and reduce what most may consider waste, it could slow down the changes that planet earth is currently undergoing.

The pharmaceutical industry in the environment

Pharmaceuticals concerned about finding solutions

The Pharmaceutical Industry is also aware of the negative effects caused by drugs.

The causes apply to its production, as well as the devices and formats used for its use.

It is also related to the withdrawal of medications, either because the product is expired, as well as the waste that occurs when the doses available in said devices run out.

For this reason, the Pharmaceutical Strategy of the European Union joins the European Green Pact, whose objective is to achieve climate neutrality, and thus reduce the greenhouse effect.

Thus, pressurized cartridge inhalers (pMDI) have a negative effect on the greenhouse effect, since they contain hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) propellants.

The use of inhalers in Spain

In Spain, around 15 million units are sold and approximately 52% of the inhalers used are of this type, which is equivalent to around 400,000 tons of CO2 per year.
As far as we know, inhalers are mainly used for the treatment of respiratory diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Disease) and ASTHMA.
If you want to know more about these medicines, you can consult the CIMA Online Medicines Information Center of the AEMPS.

The Pharmaceutical industry cares the environment

Did you know that the carbon footprint can be reduced by up to 90% if these medications change?

The way to launch less polluting inhalers on the market is currently being studied.

Although at the moment, patients over 6 years of age or with inspiratory flow > 30 l/min can use dry powder or nebulized inhalers, provided that it is recommended by the specialist.

In conclusion, it is not recommended to change the inhaler, unless it is with a medical prescription

However, it cannot be changed in patients already treated and controlled with their pMDI inhalers, as it carries significant health risks, reducing the chances of improvement.

Therefore, the objective of the unit is, according to Pilar Giner, head of the Internal Medicine service at the San Cecilio Clinic.

“To offer specific dedication, care adjusted to the complexity of these diseases and a multidisciplinary approach to the patient”.

Medicine recycling

Sigre Point

The collection of these devices is considered essential to reduce the carbon footprint

The AIRE study has identified that many of the patients do not use the collection points enabled for the collection of devices that can no longer be used.

I´t means, that if patients were aware of the importance of proper environmental management, they would go to the SIGRE point, located in all pharmacies.

See this link for more information on the use of inhalers.


What measures are necessary to reduce the environmental impact?

In conclusion, the AEMPS recognizes the environmental impact of the use of inhalers and that educational measures are necessary to mitigate said impact.

In addition, all actions aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of pMDI inhalers must be carried out slowly, thoughtfully, and without endangering respiratory patients who need this type of inhaler for good control of their disease.

The AIRE study refers to the perceptive analysis of recycled inhalers, indicating the importance of taking these devices to the SIGRE point in pharmacies, for the management and collection of medicines and their correct recycling.

Therefore, as an additional environmental measure, it is necessary to raise awareness of the importance of proper environmental management of inhalers

So, it´s an essential measure to reduce the carbon footprint by eliminating them at the SIGRE point of pharmacies.

Source: Gobierno de España

Centro Andaluz Alfa-1