Over the last year almost 28 tonnes of unwanted medicines were returned in Fife.

It’s estimated that the annual cost of wasted medicines to NHS Fife is £2.1 million – a significant amount which could be used to fund other health services in Fife.

And it’s not just the cost of unwanted medicines to consider. Safely disposing of unused medicines brings additional cost and takes up many hours of health professionals’ time.

The good news is there is a lot we can do to tackle medicines waste and everyone can play a part. It’s time to Take Stock and reduce unused medicines in Fife.



Help us reduce waste when ordering your medicines:

  • Check Before You Order– Check what medicines you have at home before reordering. Any unused or out-of-date medicines can be taken to your Community Pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Only Order What You Need– Check before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms and only choose the medicines you need. If you don’t need the medicine don’t order it. You will still be able to request it in the future.
  • Check Your Prescriptions Bag– Check in your prescription  bag to make sure your supply is correct and that there’s nothing in there you don’t need before leaving the pharmacy. Once medicines have left the pharmacy they cannot be reused.


Help us reduce waste by taking your medicines into hospital:

  • Bring Your Medicines into Hospital- If you need to go into hospital, remember to take all your medicines with you. Not only will this ensure staff have a complete record of what you’re taking but the hospital pharmacy won’t need to dispense more of the same medication if it’s not needed.
  • Remember to Take Your Medicines Home – When you’re leaving hospital take home all your medicines if they are still suitable.


Help us reduce waste by talking to an expert for the best advice:

  • Talk to the Pharmacy Team in your Local Pharmacy or GP Practice  – Stopped taking any of your medicines or medicines no longer suitable? Let the Pharmacy teams in your Local Pharmacy or GP Practice know.



  • Unused Medicines Are a Safety Risk– Medicines are only prescribed for you, don’t share them with anyone else. Don’t stockpile medication – it’s a safety risk for children and others. Need advice? Speak to the Pharmacy Team in your Local Pharmacy or GP Practice.
  • Unused Medicines Cannot be Recycled– Even if you never open them, once medicines have left the pharmacy they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else. Avoid any unwanted medicines by ordering only what you need. If you have unused medicines at home return them to your Local Pharmacy for safe disposal.


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