Prevent Medicines Wastage
So you ordered your repeat prescription a week too early. So there’s a bit of a build up in your medicine cupboard. It’s only a few pills.
What harm can it do?
Unused prescription medicines cost £4.6 million every year in Northamptonshire.
That cost can be counted in human terms too, given the healthcare that this money could have been spent on. For example, right now the cost of waste medicines in this county could have paid for:
- Cataract operations for 4,780 people – someone you know might have a greater chance at regaining their sight.
- Potentially life-saving breast cancer drug treatments for 304 mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends.
- 600 life-saving heart operations.
The cost of waste medicines can also be counted as the health benefits that people may not be getting because they are not taking their medicines as intended.
Unused prescription medicines cannot be re-used or dispensed to anyone else and are usually unsuitable as donations to charities abroad. Disposal of waste medicines also cost the NHS money, approximately £1.36 per kg.
So think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription request form and only tick those you really need. If your pharmacist or a carer orders your medicines on your behalf, make sure that you tell them to only order what you need. If you need the medicine in the future you will still be able to request it. You should let your GP or pharmacist know if you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines or if you have any concerns. If you are going into hospital please take all your medicines with you.
If you have any queries or concerns about your medicines you can ask your pharmacist for a Medicines Use Review. The pharmacist will explain what all your medicines are for and answer any questions you may have. Alternatively you can ask your doctor for advice.
Have a look at the website http://www.manageyourmedicines.co.uk/ for more information.
Thanks for your co-operation.
Ruth Brittain, Prescribing Adviser, Nene Clinical Commissioning Group and on behalf of Corby CCG.