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 £18million each year.
Now, the Northern Local Commissioning Group and local pharmacies are supporting a 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.
Laurence O’Kane, interim Chair, Northern Local Commissioning Group said: “Although unused medicines should be returned to your pharmacy they unfortunately 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.
Local pharmacist, Sheelagh Hillan, Randalstown Pharmacies said; “We are 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.”