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Estimated £1m worth of medication wasted in Great Yarmouth and Waveney every year

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

An estimated £1m worth of unused medicines are wasted in Great Yarmouth and Waveney every year, according to the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the area.

The figure is based on Department of Health figures for the UK nationally, and it is thought that thousands of pounds worth of drugs could be saved to help others.

Of the estimated £1.06m worth of unused medicines the CCG estimates that £384,000 is being returned to pharmacies because it’s not needed, £320,000 is kept in the home and is out of date, and £170,000 is disposed of in care homes.

The reasons why patients don’t take all their medication can vary and the CCG said 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, the CCG said they could increase the available funding for other desperately needed health services.

To help with this reduction, the CCG are appealing for your help as part of the ‘open the bag’ campaign, asking patients to do three things when picking up repeat prescriptions:

1. Tick only the prescriptions you need,

2. Please open the bag of prescriptions at the counter, check that only the items you need are in there,

3. Hand back any unwanted items at the counter or to the delivery driver.

Michael Dennis, head of prescribing at the CCG, said: “People have asked us for clear instructions on how they can help reduce costs for the NHS. This is an easy way to help, these three clear actions will help patients to make a significant difference.

“Drugs cannot be used by anyone other than the patient they are prescribed for, and they cannot be sent to other countries to support them. Drug safety law prohibits this and as soon as they leave the pharmacy, they are wasted if they are not used so action must be taken in the pharmacy. We are appealing to the public to them for their help by ‘opening the bag’.”

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