Big Pharma even dirtier than car industry 

The global pharmaceutical industry is not only a significant contributor to global warming but is also dirtier than the global automotive production sector, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted by researchers from McMaster University and published in Science Direct, found that carbon emissions from the sector were 55 per cent greater than the automotive sector.

“The total global emissions of the Pharma sector amounts to about 52 megatonnes of CO2e in 2015, more than the 46.4 megatonnes of CO2e generated by the automotive sector in the same year. By our calculations, the Pharma market is 28 per cent smaller yet 13 per cent more polluting than the automotive sector,” the researchers said.

The study found that by 2025, the overall Pharma sector would need to reduce its emissions intensity by about 59 per cent from 2015 levels to reach reduction targets in the Paris agreement.

The report found significant variations in emissions among the larger pharmaceutical companies with three – Amgen, Johnson and Johnson, and Roche – meeting the Paris targets.

“These three leading companies are also the ones with the highest level of profitability and revenue growth in the whole sector. This supports the premise that environmental and financial performance aren’t mutually exclusive,” it said.

The researchers called for more research and scrutiny of the pharmaceutical industry’s environmental practices and performance.

“Healing people is no justification for killing the planet,” it concluded.