‘Green’ Inhalers Cut Down on Carbon Footprint and Drug Costs

Did you regular inhalers have are responsible for over 4 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions? Is there any eco-friendly alternative for inhalers?Yes. 

Inhalers are handy medical tools that quickly release medication into the body directly in the lungs, saving annually millions of lives.

Fresh insights coming from the University of Cambridge in the Uk states that choosing a less pollutant inhaler counts more than being a keen recycler or killing fewer animals.

The study measured the economic and environmental impact when an asthma patient switches to non-pollutant inhalers, such as dry powder inhalers. The dry powder inhalers deliver a 10 to 37 smaller carbon footprint in the atmosphere than metered-dose ones.

National statistics highlight that inhalers are guilty of over 4 percent of the National Health Service’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017 UK doctors recommend in 7/10 cases the environmental-harmful MDI type while prescribing the DPI kind instead would have removed 58,000 tons of CO2 in one year, according to SkyNews.

The amount of released CO2 would cover 180,000 round trips in a car from London to Edinburgh, on a distance of 400 miles. Talking from an economic point of view, the cheaper, non-pollutant DPI inhalers would spare the National Health Services nearly $10.6 million annually.

Are Green Inhalers the Same Good?

It depends on every patient’s needs. Alexander Wilkinson, respiratory medicine consultant and author of the study added:

“Any move towards ‘greener’ inhalers would need to ensure that replacements were cost effective. By switching to less expensive brands, we’ve shown that it would still be possible to make a positive impact on carbon emissions while at the same time reducing drug costs.”

DPIs lack the compressed gas, used as a ‘fuel’ for direct medicine delivery in the lungs, while the metered-dose inhalers do, making them more efficient for severe cases of asthma, but hurtful for the atmosphere’s emissions.

The purpose of the research is not to put someone to shame for the choices made or push one to use greener alternatives. Patients are advised to see a doctor before turning to an eco-friendly inhaler.

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