Do You Regularly Take Prescribed Medicine And Not Always Use It?

Major initiative launched to reduce medicine waste

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A campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary waste has launched across Wandsworth, as unused prescription medicines cost the NHS in London an estimated £39.4million every year.

The campaign, launched by NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), calls upon people to:

· Only order what they need
· Return their unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal
· Take their medicines with them when they go into hospital

Nick Beavon, Chief Pharmacist for Wandsworth CCG said: “One of the biggest problems is repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used.

“Unwanted medicines in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could from their prescriptions. It also represents a large amount of waste.”

It is estimated that at any one time £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines are being retained in individual’s homes across the UK.

Nick goes on to say: “We want patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of. Any of the medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date, as once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be recycled.

“In addition, everyone involved in prescribing, dispensing or reviewing medicines has a responsibility to make sure that patients are involved in making decisions
about their treatment and that more medicines are taken as recommended.”

Around half of the UK population do not take or use their medicines as prescribed. This can occur for a number of reasons, including:

· People not believing the medicine is necessary
· Worrying about possible side effects
· Fitting taking or using medicines into daily routines
· Choosing between medicines if people feel they are taking too many
· Cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time

Health professionals across the borough have joined forces in a bid to inform patients about their treatment and to help people understand more about their medicines and the options they have.

Posters and leaflets will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers. Further information may also be found on the national website

April 3, 2013