The NHS long-term plan has committed to switching more patients to lower carbon inhalers as a way of reducing the NHS’s carbon footprint, but what does this mean in practice?
In the UK alone, there are 5.4 million people who suffer from asthma. The condition affects approximately one in five of households. Most asthma sufferers are prescribed pressured metered dose inhalers (pMDI). Across the total UK inhaler market, the ratio of pMDI to dry powder inhalers (DPIs) dispensed is 70%:30%.
However, different inhaler types have different environmental impacts. The NHS Sustainable Development Unit has estimated that 3.5% of the NHS’s total carbon footprint comes from pMDIs, which have a carbon footprint approximately 18 times that of DPIs.