The first textbook in Finnish on the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals published in May

Lääkkeet ja ympäristö (Medicines and the Environment) textbook will encourage us to think about how we can address the environmental impact of medicines during their life cycle.

The open online version of the book is available in Helda Open Book series.

Mankind depends on effective medicines that are safe for their users. However, the increasing use of medicines poses a growing challenge to the environment. In addition to the chemicalisation of the environment, the manufacture, distribution and disposal of pharmaceutical waste consume natural resources and energy.

The new textbook brings together the latest information on the environmental impact of medicines and the solutions offered throughout the life cycle of a medicine.

The textbook is the provided by the Generation Green task force of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki. Launched in 2015, the Generation Green project has aimed to integrate sustainability and environmental considerations into pharmacy and healthcare education and to promote environmental research on medicines throughout their life cycle.

"During the project, it became clear that the environmental impact of medicines during their life cycle is poorly understood in the healthcare sector and that sustainability challenges are often perceived as a pharmaceutical problem. This is partly due to the fact that knowledge about the environmental impact of the life cycle of medicines is very fragmented," says pharmacy owner Emerita Eeva Teräsalmi, who has been a member of the Social Interaction Committee of the Faculty of Pharmacy for many years and is also a founding member of the Generation Green task force.

The aim of the book is to provide the necessary knowledge base for future and current health professionals and policy makers. However, it does not require the reader to have extensive prior knowledge of the subject. The book will be published in an open online version, making it accessible to anyone interested in the subject. The book has been produced with the support of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, which supports projects for an environmentally sustainable future.

The environmental impact of the development and use of pharmaceuticals is receiving increasing attention in research, industry and legislation, but in many respects this work is still in its infancy. Multidisciplinary collaboration is a prerequisite for the development of environmentally sustainable, effective and safe treatments for humans.

"We hope that the textbook will help more and more healthcare professionals to become aware of the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals and to take this into account in their own working and living environments," says Mia Sivén, Vice Dean for Education and Associate Professor of Sustainable Pharmacy at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Further information