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Poster campaign to highlight 'shocking' medicine waste

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Waste medicines cost millions Waste medicines cost millions

Somerset CCG is using a novel way to highlight the £3million wasted on unused prescription medicines in the country each year.

First World War themed posters are being put up in GP surgeries, pharmacists and care homes across the county to highlight the amount of money wasted every year.

One of the main areas of concern is the waste that arises from repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but not used.

Shaun Green, associate director and head of medicines management at Somerset CCG, said that is 'shocking to think that some patients are contributing to the needless waste of millions of pounds on prescription medicines that they have never used.'

'This years waste medicines campaign has a First World War themed poster calling for all of us to play our part in bringing down medicines waste. We want to improve communication between patients, GP practices and community pharmacies so that everyone realises that medicines are not rationed in the UK but we still have a responsibility to ensure medicines are not wasted.

'As the population ages and people live longer, more and more people will find themselves living with a number long-term conditions and need a large number of medicines to manage their condition. With many older patients taking so many medicines it is wise to review their use and the quantity they are reordering by repeat prescription,' he said.

Somerset CCG will spend around £78 million on GP prescribed medicines this year.

It is estimated that £90million worth of unused prescriptions are retained in individual's homes across the UK at any one time. Around half of all patients do not take or use their medicines as prescribed.

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Until all health clinicians when in a one to one consultation with a patient participate in medicine rationalisation particular in cases where 5 or more prescribed medicines are already being prescribed, and be mindful of the effects of another drug/s being added to those currently supposedly being taken by the patient, this wastage will continue.
Education monitoring and assessment are essentials in any attempts to modify patient behaviour including patient awareness of the costs of the drugs being prescribed and the need to report drug effects
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