Unused prescription medicines cost the NHS in the UK an estimated £300million every year.

Only order what you need

Did you know?

Even if you never open them, once you leave a pharmacy your medicines cannot be recycled or used by anyone else. This means that any you return are destroyed.

Think about it

Before heading to the pharmacy, take a look in your medicine cabinet to see what you actually need. You may have ordered extra of a repeat prescription last time you went and forgot.

The Campaign

What's the problem?

A report by the Department of Health estimates that unused medicines cost the NHS around £300 million every year, with an estimated £110 million worth of medicine returned to pharmacies, £90 million worth of unused prescriptions being stored in homes and £50 million worth of medicines disposed of by Care Homes.

These startling figures don't even take into account the cost to patients' health if medicines are not being correctly taken. If medicine is left unused, this could lead to worsening symptoms and extra treatments that could have been avoided.

Why are medicines wasted?

Sometimes patients receive medicines they don't actually use, or use only occasionally. This means that they can lose out on the intended health benefits of their prescription. The reasons why patients don't take all their medication can vary and audits have shown that around half of all the medication returned had not even been opened. This means that patients are ordering and receiving medication that they don't even start to use.

By reducing the amount of medicines being wasted each year, we could increase the available funding for other desperately needed health services.

Radio Interview

BBC Radio 5 Live

Medicine Waste brochure

On July 22nd, Jan James, Chief Executive Officer was asked by BBC 5 Live Breakfast Show to comment on the issue of medicine waste and the estimated 300 million it incurs to NHS every year.

Click to view the story on www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23374000

For the audio clips from the breakfast show please visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01d3jbc

BBC TV Leeds Look North


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