Using medications better by using less. An educational and environmental imperative

Anne Spinewine (1), Tokandji Rostand Adda (2) Published in the journal : January 2024 Category : Durabilité et Soins de Santé: Quels Défis pour le Futur

Summary :

Overprescription of medications undermines patients’ quality of life and safety. It also impacts the healthcare system and the environment. According to the report “Decarbonizing Health for Better Care” published by The Shift Project in 2023, medication purchases constitute the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the healthcare sector, accounting for over 14.5 million tons of CO2. This represents 29% of the sector’s total emissions.

To implement a rational use of medication and in response to sustainable development challenges, deprescribing emerges as a solution. It is a process aimed at identifying, reducing, or even discontinuing overprescribed medications. However, its implementation in routine clinical practice remains limited.

In this article, we propose actions and strategies that could foster changes in the habits of current and future healthcare professionals regarding medication deprescribing, thus promoting the concept of sustainable healthcare.

What is already known about this topic?

Overconsumption of medicines is a public health problem that impacts patients, the healthcare system, and the environment. These consequences could be avoided by encouraging healthcare professionals to make greater use of deprescribing in their clinical practices, and by engaging in the promotion of sustainable healthcare.

What does this article bring up for us?

This article suggests ways of improving the training of current and future healthcare professionals in deprescribing in order to reduce drug overuse.


Overprescribing, deprescribing, sustainable development, education and training, healthcare professionals