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Putting an End to Waste Medicines


Last week in the Senedd, Community Pharmacy Wales held an event to highlight the unnecessary NHS overspend on medicines.    It has been estimated that the annual cost of wasted medicines in Wales to amount to £50 million and the Welsh Government has estimated that around £10 million in possible savings is available by reducing wasted medicines in primary care.
The event was sponsored by Chair of the Public Accounts committee, Nick Ramsay AM, and its aim was to inform Assembly Members of how the 700 community pharmacies across Wales can help to tackle the problem and to encourage patients to return wasted medicines to their pharmacy and to think about their own medicines usage. 
Speaking at the event Nick Ramsay AM said, “For patients to continue to receive high quality treatments we must all ensure that NHS resources are used in their most efficient manner by ensuring the amounts of unwanted medicines are minimised.”
Russell Goodway, Chair of Community Pharmacy Wales said, “Reducing waste is everybody’s responsibility and community pharmacies across Wales are working hard to minimise waste by working with patients, carers and the wider public to improve their understanding of medicines, their usage and how waste can be reduced.”
In 2008, waste contractors regulated by the Environment Agency declared that 254 metric tons of Pharmaceutical waste originated in Wales. This figure does not include the estimated 10% of waste medicines that are disposed of through other channels e.g. household waste, incineration with garden rubbish or into the sewer system. Furthermore, using audits from Community Pharmacy Wales, the Welsh Government estimate the total cost of unwanted or unused medicines in Wales to be between £15 million and £50 million per year. In 2011-12 alone, more than 72 million items were dispensed in Wales, with an estimated £21.6m worth of medicines being wasted.
Click Here to watch video's of AM's views on Waste Medicines