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Prescription drug waste awareness campaign launched by London PCTs

By News team

Four primary care trusts in Greater London have launched a campaign to raise awareness about correctly ordering repeat prescriptions, with the aim of reducing medicines wastage.

The campaign follows the launch of a Department of Health-commissioned report last week (23 November 2010), which estimated that the value of prescription medicines waste in England is currently £300m per year.

The campaign will consist of radio advertising together with posters and leaflets that will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices. Patients will also be encouraged to have regular reviews with their pharmacist or doctor to discuss any issues they may have with taking their medicines.

Nick Beavon, chief pharmacist at NHS Wandsworth, one of the PCTs behind the campaign, said: “Everyone involved in prescribing, dispensing or reviewing medicines needs to make sure that patients are involved in making decisions about their treatment and that more medicines are taken as recommended.”

He added: “Unwanted drugs in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could be from their medicines. It also represents a large amount of waste.

“We want patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of.”

Neal Patel, head of corporate communications at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “Getting maximum benefit from medicines is a common goal shared by patients, pharmacists and the NHS. By reviewing medicine use and repeat dispensing pharmacists provide advice for people with long-term conditions and help patients understand their therapy better.”

Co-author of the DoH-commissioned report David Taylor, of the School of Pharmacy, University of London, added: “Medicines used well can improve the health of both individuals and the public at large. Our work supports the view that both professionals and patients should be helped to understand the value of medicines.

“What fundamentally matters is better health rather than cost savings.”

Further information about this and other campaigns can be found on a new national website at

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11049256

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