How To Avoid Wasting Medicine 




Only Order What You Need

Did you know?

Wasted medication is costing the NHS millions every year- including £1.5 million for the NHS in North Durham alone.

The potential money wasted on unused or partially used medicines could pay for:

  • 61 more nurses, OR
  • 1.550 more drug treatment courses for Alzheimers, OR
  • 102 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer, OR
  • 418 more hip replacements, OR
  • 1,613 more cataract operations

It is estimated that £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines are retained in individual's homes, across the UK, at any one time. Around half of all patients do not take or use their medicines as prescribed.

This can occur for a number of reasons including:

  • Patients not believing the medicine is necessary.
  • Possible side effects.
  • Complex prescriptions that are difficult to fit into daily routines.
  • Choosing between medicines if patients' feel they are taking too many.
  • Cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time.

What You Should Check Before Ordering Your Repeat Prescription

  • Check which items you already have before ordering your repeat prescription and only order what you need.
  • If you need items at a later date you can request them.
  • Let your GP, Nurse or Pharmacist know if you have stopped taking any medicines on your repeat prescription.
  • Did you know that medicines cannot be recycled, whether they have been opened or not.
  • Return unwanted medicines to your pharmacy for safe disposal. Don't throw them away.
  • If you need to go into hospital, please take your medicines with you.
  • This will enable hospital staff to effectively assess your care.
  • If available, please use the green bag to transport your medicines.

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