GOSH joins the Sustainable Medicines Partnership

4 Oct 2022, 10 a.m.

Picture of GOSH pharmacy with staff members

We've joined the Sustainable Medicines Partnership (SMP) as a Programme Collaborator. Read on to learn why this partnership matters.

What is the Sustainable Medicines Partnership?

The Sustainable Medicines Partnership (SMP) is a not-for-profit collaboration between many different organisations that work in healthcare. It will co-ordinate projects to make the use of medicines more sustainable and less wasteful. Together we can understand the detail of regulation, manufacture, importation, procurement and use in healthcare, and so it is together that we can make big changes happen.

Why is it important to improve sustainability in medicines?

Medicines are the most common type of treatment for all sorts of medical problems. 4.5 trillion medicines are produced every year, yet hundreds of billions are never used. 25% of carbon dioxide produced by the NHS is due to medicines. Carbon dioxide is a gas that contributes to climate change. Due to the environmental impact of medicines, it is very important that we look to improve how we use them and limit waste.

A close up photo of Bilal looking at a gadget

Bilal, a member of the GOSH Young Persons' Advisory Group (YPAG) for research

If your medicines are not sustainable, they will lead to more deterioration of the environment, which leads to deterioration in health, but we can help to break this damaging cycle.

Bilal, a member of the GOSH Young Persons' Advisory Group (YPAG) for research

Why is GOSH a part of the Sustainable Medicines Partnership?

GOSH is a world leading children’s hospital and provides the UK’s widest range of specialist health services for children in one place. We’re committed to sustainable business practices and are one of the few UK Hospitals to declare a Climate Emergency.

GOSH has specific insights into key areas where the SMP aims to increase understanding and make improvements. For example, providing information about a medicine and how to take it is key to successful treatment. Information is needed to help children and their carers understand the importance of their treatment, and can impact their everyday life, for example how they can take their medicines at school. Right now, lots of paper is used to provide this information, but how could we provide this information in a more efficient way? This could reduce the felling of 9 million trees a year and provide information in a way that improves medicines use.

In the future, I’d like medicines that are easier to take, like treatments in fewer doses so that children can take less tablets but with the same treatment effects. This could reduce waste of packaging and of tablets as it’s less likely they may be forgotten!

Bilal, a member of the GOSH Young Persons' Advisory Group (YPAG) for research

You can find out more in our Programme Collaborator announcement.