Sustainable Prescribing

Sustainable for patients,
Sustainable for health systems,
Sustainable for the planet.
The current health care system is over-prescribing medications. Studies  suggest we over-prescribe some drug classes by 20-30%.

Prescribing practices can be influenced by various factors. However, overprescribing can occur as a result of not providing better alternatives, generalization of the use of the medicine for all patients with the condition, not recognizing condition changes, the patient no longer needing the medicine. There are potential harms to these medications, which need to be addressed and led to the formation of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada.

The financial cost of prescribed drug spending can be found in this Canadian Institute for Health Information document. (See page 6) 

“Public drug program spending accounted for 43.6% of the $34.3 billion of prescribed drug spending in 2019, as reported in CIHI’s National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2019. The public share of prescribed drug spending varied among provinces, ranging from 31.7% in New Brunswick and 34.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 47.4% in Manitoba and 48.6% in Saskatchewan. Outside of the public sector, prescribed drug spending financed by private insurers was $12.7 billion (36.9%), with the remaining $6.8 billion (19.9%) financed by Canadian households.1 Public drug program spending does not include spending on drugs dispensed in hospitals or on those funded outside public drug programs (e.g., through cancer agencies).”

These costs have increased since 2019 and these numbers do not include over-the -counter medications. The money spent on over-prescribed medications could be moved to other areas of a strained Canadian health system.

Deprescribing and finding alternatives would improve human health, reduce health care spending, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn with us!

Our Projects


Climate Change and Pharmacy: A Place for Everyone 

On April 23rd, 2024 CCGHC, PEACH, and CAPhE welcomed pharmacy professionals and students from across Canada to discuss their experience tackling climate change and environmental sustainability in the sector.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify the various opportunities for tackling sustainability practices change within hospital settings.
  • Discuss challenges and potential barriers to implementing sustainable health care practices.
  • Understand the perspective of pharmacy students on the integration of climate change and environmental sustainability into pharmacy education.
  • Discuss opportunities within the health care settings to reduce environmental impact of medications (example MDI reduction project in primary care).
  • Critically evaluate the role of social prescribing in enhancing holistic health care approaches and advocate for its adoption in health care settings.

Watch the webinar recording HERE.

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Impacts on non-target organisms

On March 28th, 2023 the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, PEACH Health Ontario, and CASCADES welcomed pharmacist Gigi Wong to present on the topic of pharmaceuticals in the environment.

In this one-hour session Gigi describes how pharmaceuticals enter the environment; the environmental classification for pharmaceuticals and the properties of persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity; as well as provides an example of wildlife that has been negatively impacted by the use of pharmaceuticals.

Watch the recording HERE.

Hospital Pharmacies and the Climate Crisis

On October 26th, 2022 at 8pm ET Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, PEACH Health Ontario, and CASCADES partnered to welcome Dr. Shellyza Moledina Sajwani, for an overview of climate change's relevance to pharmacy. She specifically focuses on tangible objectives that can be completed within a hospital pharmacy setting, using the example of the Ottawa Hospital Pharmacy Environmental Stewardship Committee.

Watch the recording HERE.