Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Drug packaging

Exclude medicines packaging from single-use plastics tax, urges CCA

Responding to the HM Treasury’s consultation on the potential introduction of a tax on single-use plastic waste, the Company Chemists’ Association said viable alternatives to medicines-related plastics would need extensive testing and quality control before any move to a more environmentally friendly option.

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has called on Her Majesty’s (HM) Treasury for all medicine-related items to be excluded from its definition of single-use plastics in new efforts to address waste.

HM Treasury ran a consultation from 13 March 2018 to 18 May 2018 on potential options to change the tax system or introduce charges to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste. The government is looking across the whole supply chain, from production and retail to consumption and disposal.

The CCA, a forum for large businesses engaged in community pharmacy, responded to the Call for Evidence on 18 May 2018 and said it recognised the important role that both individuals and organisations play in reducing avoidable plastic waste and moving to a greener economy.

Its response also said that all of its members were involved in and committed to different environmental initiatives that aim to encourage sustainability and conserve limited resources.

The CCA said that single-use plastic items, which are designed to ensure efficient delivery of medicine, are “essential by their nature and currently cannot easily be substituted or avoided”, adding that plastic was “the medium of choice for many dosing aids and healthcare products because it does not usually interact with the active ingredients and excipients contained within medicines”.

While medicine manufacturers may, in time, be able to move towards materials that are more environmentally friendly, the CCA added that “this is a longer-term project requiring viable alternatives that are subject to extensive testing and quality control”.

“Some products may also never be suitably substituted.”

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists Association

Source: Courtesy of the CCA

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, said financial strain on the NHS and pharmacy businesses resulting from plastic taxes “simply cannot be borne at present”

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the CCA, commented: “Medicines are not ordinary consumer products, and any efforts to deliver better environmental outcomes must not have unintended consequences for patient care.”

Harrison said he hoped any policy decisions around changing the tax system or introducing charges for single-use plastics carefully consider the impact on sectors such as healthcare, including pharmacy.

“Any direct or indirect financial strain on the NHS and pharmacy businesses from new plastic taxes simply cannot be borne at present.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204951

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists Association

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.