Cut wasted pills to make NHS better

Pharmacist Stuart Clowes with some of the returned medicines.
Pharmacist Stuart Clowes with some of the returned medicines.

THOUSANDS of pounds are being wasted on unused medicines in Buxton every year, health bosses say.

NHS Derbyshire County say the cost to the local NHS on prescriptions that are ordered but end up stockpiling in patients’ cabinets is £6 million in Derbyshire, with the cost of unused medicines in Buxton coming to £125,000.

Now a ‘Hate Waste, Love Your NHS’ appeal is being launched by NHS Derbyshire County urging patients to think carefully before they reorder medicines, as once they are dispensed by chemists or GPs they can’t be reused.

The trust also say that the wasted money could be better spent on other essential treatments, with the funds paying for the equivalent of 18 hip operations, 14 heart operations, 134 cataract operations and 25 knee replacements in Buxton alone.

Kate Needham, Head of Medicines Management for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “Wasted medicines means wasted money.

“What we’re doing is asking patients to think carefully before they automatically tick the reorder boxes on their repeat prescription form, as the average prescription medicine costs at least £10, and that’s money that could be better spent on healthcare.”

During the campaign health bosses are also reminding patients that they may not need all the medicines they are habitually ordering.

“Patients simply get into the habit of reordering medicines and drugs, but their health might benefit if they dropped into their local pharmacy and asked for a free, qualified, Medicines Use Review,” Mrs Needham added.

Any unwanted medicines should be handed back to a pharmacist or dispensing GP practice for their safe disposal as they could be an environmental hazard.

They may also pose a risk to others if left in the home, especially children, who might find them and take them. Others may get confused and take old medication unwittingly.

Posters and leaflets reminding patients to think before they reorder their medicines are currently being displayed in chemists and doctors’ surgeries throughout Derbyshire as part of the campaign.