Every day people bring bags of full of unwanted medicines.
Recently, a large bag was returned to a pharmacy in Hastings containing drugs which cost the NHS over £6,500 and will now have to be sent for safe destruction.
Wasted medicines are costing NHS Hastings and Rother over a million pounds every year, which could pay for over a hundred heart bypass operations or more than a thousand cataract replacements.
Medicines can’t be re-used even if they are returned with the seals unbroken because they may have been damaged by not being stored at the right temperature in people’s homes, or be contaminated in some other way.
Once brought back, the NHS has to pay a specialised company to dispose of them safely and this means less money is available to spend on things that patients actually need.
Graham Delves, Medicines Management Lead for NHS Hastings and Rother, says,
“Once patients know about this waste I am sure they’ll help. One thing they can do is to only tick the items on repeat prescription requests that they need, not tick them all because it’s easier.
Ticking everything on the repeat slip can lead to hoards of medicines growing in people’s homes and if that happens there is more chance they won’t be used.
The message to patients is, if an item isn’t needed; please don’t tick the box on the prescription request.
You can talk to your pharmacist who will review your use of medicines and advise on ordering repeat prescriptions. This will help you gain maximum benefit from your medicines and help us avoid waste”.
In addition, patients should get the medication they take reviewed and checked by their GP at least once a year so any items which are no longer needed can be stopped.