Stop the waste of expensive prescription medicines

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Prema Taylor
Prema Taylor signed this petition

To stop the waste of NHS prescribed medication and equipment by (a) a more responsible approach to usage of medicines by everyone from GPs, patients, Nursing Homes etc and (2) recycling in the U.K. or donating to needy countries

Every day thousands of pounds of prescription medicine is wasted. An estimate in 2015 was wastage worth £300 million and this figure has almost certainly gone up. This is because once a batch of medication has been prescribed for an individual, any unused medicine, even if the packet or bottle has not been opened, cannot be used for another patient. I have a relative who has a chronic illness and has been on regular medication for a long time. Each time his medication is amended - i.e either the dosage is changed or medication itself is altered - any pills remaining from his previous prescription have to be handed back to the Pharmacist to be destroyed. I am also aware that sadly when a person passes away any unused medication has to be similarly disposed off. The same applies to equipment - particularly mobility aids. The NHS has been struggling with funding for years and there also many countries around the world where seriously ill people cannot afford the medication they need - that is presuming the medication is available to them in the first place. Items like mobility aids would also be very gratefully received in some countries. I am calling on Matt Hancock to look into ways of stopping this terrible waste. Either there should be some way of reusing any untouched and in date medicines in this country or, alternatively, donating it to aid agencies or health organisations for the benefit of our less fortunate brothers and sisters all around the world. I am adding this detail to my petition, on the 23rd of May, (1) to confirm that savings should be made by monitoring dispensing and usage of prescription medicines more carefully  and (2) to clarify that I am not asking for all unused medication to be recycled as clearly there are ethical, quality and liability considerations, especially where it is not possible to be sure these medicines have been stored properly. However, when (a) medication has been wrongly dispensed by the Pharmacy and is returned immediately (which happens more often then we may think (b) when it is returned promptly due to, for example, changes in Prescription and (c) where medication is kept in controlled conditions in Care Homes, Hospitals etc., there should be no reason why they cannot be re-used.