More than 200 health journals simultaneously publish climate change plea

A joint editorial calling on international leaders to act faster to reverse the climate crisis, co-authored by editors from the world’s leading health journals, including The Pharmaceutical Journal, has been published by health journals across the world.

The Pharmaceutical Journal has joined with more than 200 health journals from around the world to publish the same editorial, calling on international leaders to commit to emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity and protect health.

The unprecedented move comes weeks before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as ‘COP26’, is held in Glasgow, Scotland, which many believe is the world’s last chance to get runaway climate change under control.

The editorial details the “catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse” if global temperatures are allowed to increase above 1.5°C and the effects that are already being witnessed, such as rising heat-related mortality in older people, cancer, tropical infections, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality.

It says: “Reflecting the severity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals across the world. We are united in recognising that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.”

The editorial is co-authored by editors from 17 of the world’s leading health journals, including The Pharmaceutical Journal, and was coordinated by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change — an alliance of 21 UK health organisations.

One of the co-authors, Eric J Rubin, editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, said the editorial shows how the environment and health are “inextricably intertwined”.

He added: “The changing climate is endangering us in many ways, including its critical impacts on health and health care delivery. As medical and public health practitioners, we have an obligation not only to anticipate new health care needs but also to be active participants in limiting the causes of the climate crisis.”

Another co-author, Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of The BMJ, said that climate change and the continued destruction of nature was a “far deadlier crisis” than the COVID-19 pandemic. “Wealthier nations must act faster and do more to support those countries already suffering under higher temperatures. 2021 has to be the year the world changes course — our health depends on it.”

Co-author Nigel Praities, executive editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal, said: “It is a rare occasion that so many different journals come together to make exactly the same statement; however, the urgency of the climate crisis demands it.

“We are already experiencing the health effects of climate change, and this situation will only get worse unless world leaders step up the pace and ambition of their plans at COP26 this November.”

All academic journals published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society will publish the editorial, including The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, The International Journal of Pharmacy Practice and The Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research.

The full list of all the journals participating can be found here.

Read the full editorial here.

Green pharmacy: a call for papers 

The editors at The Pharmaceutical Journal invite ideas for articles, blogs or research papers from all sectors of pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry that relate to the climate emergency or the sustainability of pharmacy. Click here to find out more.

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, More than 200 health journals simultaneously publish climate change plea;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.103572

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