05.11.2019 | Tracker

UK HCPs slam BBC news article on asthma carbon footprint

By Laura Marsh

UK HCPs slam BBC news article on asthma carbon footprint

Each month, CREATION.co’s respiratory tracking update will bring you the latest insights into the online UK healthcare professional (HCP) conversation regarding respiratory disease. Sign up for these insights to be delivered direct to your inbox.

The month of October saw an increase on September’s conversation volume with 3,659 UK HCP mentions of respiratory disease and related terms, from 1,613 unique UK HCP authors.

At the end of the month, BBC News published an article entitled Asthma carbon footprint ‘as big as eating meat’  which explained that many asthma patients could help to save the environment by switching to “greener” medications (a dry powder inhaler instead of a metered-dose inhaler). The article stated that the benefit of making this switch would be ‘similar to the carbon footprint reduction of cutting meat from your diet’.

UK HCPs posted their reactions on Twitter

Will Carroll, a paediatric respiratory physician, gave alternative tips to asthma patients wanting to reduce their global warming impact including using a spacer and exercising frequently to maintain control of their condition. Garry McDonald, a pharmacist, maintained (as stated in the BBC article) that asthma patients must continue to use their prescribed inhaler unless switching is recommended by a healthcare professional.


Katie Knight, a paediatric emergency medicine consultant, was one of many UK HCPs to shame the BBC for displaying an image of a young person using an inhaler without a spacer, as per NICE guidelines on inhaler devices in chronic asthma. The image has subsequently been changed to depict a young person using a spacer.

Many other UK HCPs responded angrily to the wording of the article including Dr Hannah Barham-Brown who said that patients were being blamed for the current environmental issues, with others suggesting that the piece should have been aimed at changing prescribing patterns of HCPs, not adherence patterns of patients.


Check back next month to see what will drive the HCP Twitter conversation in November!

We are tracking each month the HCP conversation within respiratory disease. You can keep up to date with this and other pharmaceutical tracking updates, including drug approvals, within the Tracking section of CREATION Knowledge, or sign up to receive our monthly eJournal with all of our latest HCP insights.



  • This article analysed the Twitter conversations of HCPs in the UK, discussing respiratory disease and related terms between October 1 – 31st 2019, using CREATION Pinpoint®.
  • Between October 1 – 31st 2019, 1,613 unique UK HCPs posted 3,659 times about respiratory disease and related terms.


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Laura Marsh

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