Asked last May by Ifop, the French say they have trouble identifying the origin of the drugs marketed in our country. They are 80% to know it badly, even very badly, an even greater proportion among the oldest people (85% among those over 65). In the context of public hospital orders, the environmental impact of drugs is only a concern for 20% of them (30% for those under 35), far behind the nationality of the pharmaceutical companies referenced by hospital establishments. 55% of the French people questioned preferred that the latter favor French and European manufacturers, a concept that has no real link with the location of their sites and their production methods. As for the criteria for the choice of drugs by doctors and pharmacists, 62% highlight their economic advantage for health insurance, compared to 38% who would maintain that health professionals focus on specialties presenting the most low carbon footprint. This ecological sensitivity is greater among those under 35 (49%) and higher education graduates (44%).

Promoting eco-responsible medicines

Sponsor of this survey, Chiesi chose to present its results on the occasion of World Environment Day, as part of a round table on the environmental impact of health industries. The first laboratory to have declared itself a “company with a mission”, this industrialist of Italian origin is making concrete commitments in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. It is working in particular on the implementation of eco-responsibility agreements with its 70 suppliers. In the respiratory field, one of its therapeutic areas, the group is currently developing a new generation inhaler, equipped with a propellant gas headlight intended to limit its carbon footprint. French leaders want to go further and influence prescribing behavior by encouraging doctors to favor eco-responsible drugs.

This type of approach is of interest to a growing number of pharmaceutical companies. At the end of 2020, LEEM presented its new “post-covid” drug policy and a press release on a list of actions, some of which directly concern sustainable development. The pharmaceutical industry union has thus reaffirmed its ambition to better control the environmental impact throughout the value chain, including drug recycling. Based on the recommendations of the Kearney consulting firm, several areas for development were mentioned, such as the distribution of bulk in hospitals, the use of e-notices or even the extension of expiry dates for certain products. Actions that take on major challenges, with regard to the environmental impact of health industries. According to The Shift Project report published in November 2021, their greenhouse gas emissions represent, in France, more than 46 million tonnes of CO2, or nearly 8% of the national total.

To go further, discover all our studies of pharmacy-health sector.

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