Play Your Part and Think Before Ordering Prescriptions
Last year 38.7 million prescription items were dispensed at a cost of £400 million across Northern Ireland. However, many medicines ordered on prescription are not taken as directed by patients and research indicates that the value of those medicines is around £18 million each year.
The South Eastern Local Commissioning Group and local pharmacies are supporting a recent campaign called, Don’t use it? Don’t order it! The campaign was launched by the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, to reduce the amount of medicines wasted across the health service.
Louise Seymour, community pharmacist and member of the South Eastern Local Commissioning Group said:
“By checking what prescription medicines you have at home before reordering, and by cancelling unwanted repeat prescriptions, it will cut down on the number of wasted medicines. This is easy but effective way for local people to help. People should also be reassured that prescriptions can still be reordered at a later date if needed.”
She continued; “Although unused medicines should be returned to your pharmacy, unfortunately they cannot be reused or recycled – even if unopened. This is an unnecessary waste as they have to be destroyed. If everyone played their part, it would save the health service millions. These savings could be put towards funding other local health care services.”
Up to 50% of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not taken as recommended, resulting in poorer than expected clinical outcomes; reduced quality of life; deterioration of health and unplanned admissions to hospital, as well as financial loss due to wasted medicines.
Mrs Seymour added:
“The South Eastern Local Commissioning Group is encouraging patients to take responsibility for their medicines and ultimately their own health, particularly in the management of long term conditions. We fully support this campaign and would encourage people to speak to their local pharmacist if they have any questions about their medicines or if they are unsure if their repeat prescription is necessary.”
The public campaign will run until March 2014 with posters, leaflets, television and bus advertising.