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Medicines and global warming: a complex problem
  1. James A Cave
  1. The Downland Practice, Berkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr James A Cave, The Downland Practice, Newbury, Berkshire. RG20 8UY, UK; jcave{at}

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The healthcare sector is responsible for 4.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions.1 Significant contributors to this carbon footprint are the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, directly from the running of these companies (sometimes called scope 1 emissions) and indirectly from purchased energy consumed (scope 2 emissions) and all other emissions indirectly associated with the companies—such as supply chains (scope 3 emissions).2 It is estimated that scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions of biotech and pharmaceutical companies accounted for 260 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2021, higher than global emissions from the forestry and paper industry.2

There are particular …

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  • Competing interests None declared. Refer to the online supplementary files to view the ICMJE form(s).

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.