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Amnesty For All Those Forgotten Drugs

People who have prescription medicine lying unused in their bathroom cabinets can return them in an amnesty in Coventry next week.

Many GPs run a repeat prescription service so regular patients don’t have to wait to see their doctors for more medicine.

Repeat prescriptions make up three-quarters of all prescriptions issued and take up ten per cent of all spending in the NHS, but the drugs often get tucked away and are unused.

A fifth of all prescriptions are returned to pharmacies unopened.

A special amnesty has now been launched to try and raise people’s awareness of the problem.

People are to be given the chance to turn all unwanted medicines to safe-keeping.

Leaflets explaining the campaign will be available from pharmacies in the city.

If successful, the campaign could save the NHS a small fortune in unnecessarily prescribed drugs. Current estimates are that £52 million a year is wasted nationally on over-prescription.

Chris Taggart of the Local Medical Committee said:

“The campaign has many benefits from reducing drug wastage and allowing crucial resources to be redirected to other parts of the NHS, to improving drug safety by reducing the amount of unwanted medicines stored at home, which if accidentally swallowed can be harmful, especially to children.

“We want to ensure that patients always get the medicines they need but we also want to reduce local drug wastage so that we can redirect some more funds into our local health service.

"It is crucial that patients and carers do their bit to help the NHS to help them.

"The simple message is 'Don't Need It, Don't Order, Don't Be A Hoarder'.”

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Coventry Community Drug Team

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CWN / Health / Coventry Health Authority / 27 Jun 00

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