Medicines Waste

Only Order The Medicines You Need

Wasted medicines means wasted £ millions

What are wasted medicines?

Wasted medicines are unused medicines which have been prescribed for named patients and are not required.

Medicine waste can occur due to patients over-ordering medicines on repeat prescriptions, or
continuing to order medicines which they no longer take.

Wasted medicines cost NHS Fife over £2 million each year.


Medicines Waste

What should I know about prescribed medicines?

Make sure you know:

  • The name of your medicine
  • The dose of your medicine
  • How and when it should be taken
  • Why you are taking it
  • How long you should continue to take it
  • How it should be stored
  • The expiry date

Remember, if you have any questions on any of your medicines, ask your pharmacist or GP


Stockpiling medicines at home can also be a safety risk.

It is important to return any unused medicines to your local pharmacy.

Medicines returned to pharmacies are all destroyed, even if unopened or unused – they cannot be reused, recycled or sent abroad for legal reasons.


Advice from your Pharmacy

What can I do?

Remember, only order what you need, and ask your pharmacist or GP if you have any issues or questions about your medicines


Tips for Reducing Medicines Waste

  • Only order what you need.
  • Check what medicines you already have before ordering more.
  • Think before you tick the repeat prescription boxes.
  • If you no longer take a medicine, tell your GP/pharmacist.
  • Return unused medicine to a pharmacy.
  • Don’t stockpile medicines – if you run out, contact your GP/pharmacist.
  • If you go into hospital, take your medicines with you.
  • Returned medicines cannot be reused, recycled or sent abroad - they are all destroyed..


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