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Community pharmacists share the increasing concerns on the negative effects pharmaceuticals can cause on the environment, and as a result, on public and animal health. As medicines experts they are well placed to increase public awareness, promote the prudent use and correct disposal of pharmaceuticals, and provide advice on the availability of ‘greener’ pharmaceuticals where such information is available. Moreover, it is also vital that the network of 400.000+ community pharmacies in Europe are guided and supported to help contributing to a healthier planet as much as possible.

Environmental protection contributes to safeguarding the health and safety of future generations; at the same time medicines play a critical role in ensuring a high level of public health. A right balance needs to be achieved between increased awareness and appropriate policy approaches to prevent the potential negative effects pharmaceuticals can cause on the environment on the one hand, and access to safe and effective medicines with demonstrated benefits on public health on the other.

This paper outlines the contribution that community pharmacists can make in promoting a green and sustainable future for pharmacy in Europe and provides an overview of ongoing best practices across Europe.

PGEU calls for a number of coordinated actions that should be taken at different policy levels.