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Used Medication and Dressings

An estimated £450m worth of prescription medicines are discarded every year in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with around 1% of dispensed items eventually returned to a pharmacy or dispensing GP practice unused or partially used. Guidance in the UK states that any medicine returned to a community pharmacy must be destroyed, as the storage conditions that it has been kept in cannot be guaranteed; at present there is no way to monitor the conditions in which a medicine has been stored.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued updated guidance on medicines donations, which makes it clear that there should be no double standards when it comes to the quality of medicines. 

Some practices have posters in place which advertise various organisations that will take waste medicines. Please note that it is NOT RECOMMENDED that medicines are supplied to these organisations and to supply a controlled drug to such an organisation may be a CRIMINAL OFFENCE.

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Updated on Friday, 18 December 2020 1577 views