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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!
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