The One Health Breakthrough Partnership (OHBP) has been at the forefront of addressing the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment through a multidisciplinary approach that involves agencies such as NHS Highland, Scottish Water, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Water, and SEPA. To retain its leading position, the OHBP has partnered with Swedish researchers in pharmacoepidemiology and sustainable healthcare, pharmacists, and healthcare professionals, to progress impactful, collaborative activity focussed on pharmaceuticals in the environment, rural healthcare, and other One Health innovation.
Through this, OHBP members from UHI and NHS highland hosted visitors from the University of Uppsala (School of Pharmacy), the Swedish Medical Products Agency, and Region Drug and Therapeutics Committee. The three-day visit included a mixed-schedule of activities and meetings, including with:
- University of the Highlands and Islands staff at the new Life Sciences Innovation Centre, to learn about UHI’s Health Research & Innovation group
- NHS Highland staff, to learn about Area Drug & Therapeutics and formulary division (including green formulary in NHS Highland), and the National Green Theatres Programme, which won the Health Care Without Harm “European Sustainable Healthcare Project of the Year” in 2023
- Scottish Government’s Effective Prescribing & Therapeutics branch to learn about work to ensure safe and effective use of medicines, and policy and strategy interventions in the practice at the patient level
- Follow up meetings will be held with the NHS Scotland procurement team and Scottish Government’s Sustainable Care Network
Additionally, cultural activities were embedded into the programme, to enable discussion in less facilitated environment and showcase and provide context around Scottish traditions, landscapes and nature. This included a boat tour on the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, visit to Urquhart Castle, tour of the Cairngorm National Park, Dalwhinnie distillery visit, and a ceilidh in Edinburgh!
Sweden is recognised internationally as a leader in sustainable healthcare, and has been at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals. By following a collaborative One Health approach by bringing together stakeholders from different sectors to address environmental challenges, while also improving human, environmental and animal health. One of the main outputs from this approach is the Stockholm Wise List – an eco-directed formulary including environmental information of pharmaceuticals. This includes development of the knowledge support tool – Janusinfo – a database of pharmaceutical environmental data, developed from the FASS.se the Swedish pharmaceutical industry group’s public-access database.
Engaging with international leaders in One Health, such as our Swedish partners provides valuable opportunities to enhance OHBP’s impact, refine it’s expertise and networks, and explore and solidify collaborative activities in One Health, pharmaceutical pollution, and sustainable healthcare.
“Our research group at the Faculty of Pharmacy is currently engaged in a network including The Swedish MPA’s Knowledge centre for Drugs in the environment, the Swedish Drug & Therapeutics Committees and the Swedish National Association of Water Supplies, and we will now utilize this experience in an international context. In addition to our positive experiences from previous collaborations with Scottish colleagues, we see numerous scientific and cultural possibilities with the University of Highlands and Islands that we hope to translate into fruitful education and research,” says Björn Wettermark, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology and host during the Scottish visit to the Faculty of Pharmacy.
This visit was a follow-up from the OHBP’s learning journey to Sweden (through the UKRI MRC project). Read more about the collaborative learning journey – which OHBP undertook to Sweden in April 2023.