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Who is mainly to blame for the excessive medicines waste in the UK?

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Doctors
26% (27 votes)
Pharmacists
8% (8 votes)
Patients
57% (58 votes)
Manufacturers
3% (3 votes)
Government
6% (6 votes)
Total votes: 102

Medicines Wastage

In times of economic hardship it is vital we clamp down on medicines wastage. How many times do people return to your pharmacy with bags and bags of unused medication? Why do the patients keep ordering it? Everyone has a part to play but ultimately its the patients who know what they need better than anyone else - don't need it, don't order it! Surely it's simple. Nick Thayer

Put pharmacists in charge of medicines supply

The current system almost guarantees wastage. The solution is for pharmacists to work towards being in charge of supply. Once the patient's medication is decided the pharmacist is authorised to make all supplies. Quantity, frequency, everything decided by the pharmacist in the interests of the patient and, in this case, the public purse. That's what my article was about! (PJ 14th Jan 2012, p33) But if we don't go for it no-one is going to hand the ability to make decisions to us on a plate. Who is to blame? We are! (Well, that should ruffle a few feathers.)

Read the blog...

Read the blog that inspired the poll.

Ayshe Ismail
PJ Online team

medicines wastage

There seems to be quite a lot of medication wastage in care homes, where topicals and PRn meds. especially laxatives as weell are ordered every month even they have numerous supplies from previous months. Sometimes returned to the pharmacy for destruction and re-ordered again on the monthly repeat. Hospitals discharging patients already at the care home with a new 2 week supply of medication even though they have a supply at the care home. Care homes then end up wasting some of the medication......

Something must happen soon!

I have practiced as a pharmacist in the UK for 12 years, and I still cannot believe how much medicine is wasted by patients in this country. Most patients believe medicine “is free” so they order as much as possible and hoard it just in case! In all Scandinavian countries patients must pay a very small amount (almost symbolic) for every prescription, that is big deterrent and it makes them observe how much medicine is ordered, especially on repeat prescriptions.

However, one case here in the UK I remember, was when relatives of a palliative patient brought back 12 (yes twelve!) large black bin bags full of medicines after the cancer patient had passed away. We were shocked, and calculated that the value of all the medicines was approx over £90k.  But even worse than that, massive amounts of CD drugs, injection, patches, lozenges were wasted - enough to kill an army! Of course I phoned the GP, PCT and the local pharmacy to alarm this incident.  However their answer wasn’t really satisfactory.  When I think about all the NHS cuts and some patients being refused certain cancer medicines, I get really disheartened by this kind of reckless wastage!

Medicines wastage

I feel patients contribute most towards the wastage i.e. half the time they order stuff just because it is on the repeat slips when it should be if they need it. Its shocking to see how much drugs are brought in for disposal by patients when it could easily be reduced by decreasing unnecessary medication ordering. I think because most patients get their medication free,they wouldn't be bothered. What I would like to see is some sort of full proof strategy from doctors,pharmacists and patients to make sure this does not continue to happen. I hope people realise that all these extra money wasted by drug wastage could have been spent on patients that need other treatments and are often rejected or avoided due to lack of funds. I think charging a very tiny price for repeats per item would make people think twice??