Health boards in Wales have launched a campaign to reduce unused prescription medicine said to have been worth an estimated £21.6m last year.
Pharmacies, medical staff and the general public will all be asked to help cut the amount of medication waste by encouraging patients to only order what they need. Once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be reused.
The authorities are urging people to review their repeat prescriptions and check they are taking their medication correctly. Critics of the policy of free prescriptions in Wales suggest this has contributed to the waste although the Welsh Government sees it as a long-term investment to improve the nation’s health.
Paul Gimson, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales, told Wales Online: “The public would be shocked at how much is wasted every year. I think the big message here is for people to check that they are taking their medications properly with their pharmacist so they are not taking away medications that they won’t use.”
The Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “The Welsh Government supports all work by NHS organisations to reduce medicines waste and to encourage patients not to order more than they need.”