Wasted medicines are costing local NHS, says commissioning group

06:55 28 February 2014

It is estimated that there is £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines in UK homes at any one time.

Locally the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans and buys health services for the people of Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford, and their GPs are asking everyone to play their part by only ordering the medicines they need on repeat prescriptions.

Anurita Rohilla, chief pharmacist for the commissioning group, said: “Unwanted medicines in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could from their medicines and it represents a large amount of waste. We are asking patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of.

“Any other medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date. Once medicines have been dispensed and taken home they cannot be recycled.”

The cost of medicines prescribed in west Essex is likely to be over £38 million this year as each week approximately £730,000 is spent on prescription medicines.

What can you do to help?

GPs in the area are asking everyone to play their part before ordering repeat prescriptions:

• Ask yourself whether you actually need a further supply or do you have enough at home?

• Did you know that you do not have to order everything on your repeat prescription every time if you already have enough at home?

• Check what you have at home and only then go ahead and order what you need.

• Please tell your GP or Pharmacist if you have stopped taking any medicines on your repeat list. If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it.

• Please talk to your GP or pharmacist if you feel that you are not getting the most out of your medicines.

If your medicines are ordered for you as part of a repeat prescription service provided by your community pharmacist, you should still think about the questions above and make sure that you only request and receive the items that you need.

Check your medicines before you leave the pharmacy; the pharmacist will be able to return medicines to their stock if you have not taken them out of the pharmacy.

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