Merton GPs Campaign Against Medicine Waste

More than £1 million is wasted in our borough each year

Community pharmacies and Merton GPs are joining the campaign to reduce medicine waste.

It is estimated that in Merton over £1 million is lost each year through medicines waste alone.

The CCG is calling on local support for the campaign, by asking patients to:

  • §  Only order what they need
  • §  Return unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal
  • §  Take medicines with them when they go into hospital.

Dr Andrew Murray, Clinical Chair, NHS Merton CCG and a Merton Park GP, said: "One of the biggest problems is repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients but then not used.”

"Unwanted medicines in the home may mean that patients are not getting the benefit they could from their prescriptions. It also represents a large amount of waste. It is estimated that at any one time £90 million worth of unused prescription medicines are being retained in individual’s homes across the UK. With a few simple considerations, patients could help save the NHS millions each year.”

"We want patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they are ordering and only ask for what they need and are running out of. Any of the medicines can be dispensed when needed at a later date, as once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be recycled.”

"In addition, everyone involved in prescribing, dispensing or reviewing medicines have a responsibility to make sure that patients are involved in making decisions about their treatment and that more medicines are taken as recommended."

The £1 million potential saving in Merton could be spent on

  • §  33 more district nurses; or
  • §  270 more hip replacements; or
  • §  28 more community physiotherapists; or
  • §  23 more dementia nurses.

Around half of the UK population do not take or use their medicines as prescribed. This can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • §  Patients not believing the medicine is necessary
  • §  Possible side effects
  • §  Difficulty with taking/ using medicines  or fitting them into daily routines
  • §  Patients feeling they are taking too many medicines
  • §  Patients cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time.

Health professionals across the region have joined forces in a bid to reduce waste by informing people about their treatment and helping them understand more about their medicines and the options they have.

Posters and leaflets will be displayed in pharmacies and GP practices. In addition posters will be displayed  at some bus shelters and on buses running in Merton to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers.

For information go to or

June 7, 2015