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Medicine Wastage: The Facts

Have you ever ordered too much medicine? In the UK there is a growing problem with wastage of medical products. In fact, estimates report that as much as £300million worth of unused medicine is wasted every year, money which could have been used elsewhere in the NHS on valuable services such as cancer treatment.

Why is medicine wasted?
The reasons for not using medicine and returning it to the pharmacy or GP can vary. It could be that a patient has recovered and no longer needs the medicine, their condition might have progressed and they now need a different treatment, a patient might over order medicine “just in case” they need it, or a patient might sadly pass away and then the medicine is returned by relatives or carers.

What happens to wasted medicine?
Sadly, more often than not the unwanted medicine cannot be reused or given to another patient for safety reasons.  So if wasted medicine actually makes it back to the pharmacy or doctors, rather than sitting in a cupboard, then it tends to just be destroyed by means of an incinerator.

How can we reduce medicine wastage?
Stockpiling medicine is one of the biggest contributors to the £300million loss as people will sometimes order more of a product than they actually need because they fear running out. This is why the NHS launched the ‘Only Order What You Need’ campaign to combat waste.  You can read more about it here: http://www.medicinewaste.com/campaign.

Another reason for wastage is caused when a patient fails to stick to their course of prescription. Often, medication works the quickest and most effectively when it is used for a consistent period of time. If a patient forgets to take their prescription and stops and starts their course, they are more likely to have to begin a course again or for the course to take longer to work – thus driving up the cost.

Here at LSPS recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

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