Health Bosses Launch Major Push To Reduce Medicine Waste

A campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary medicine waste is running in north Manchester.

Local health chiefs have estimated that £1 million is lost each year in north Manchester through medicines that are never taken after being prescribed and collected by the patient.

The campaign, launched by North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group (NMCCG) asks patients to:

·     Only order what they need;

·     Return their unwanted medicines to their pharmacy for safe disposal;

·     Take their medicines with them when they go into hospital.

The £1 million that could potentially be saved in north Manchester through reducing wasted medicines could be spent on:

  • 39 more nurses, or
  • 1,000 more drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s, or
  • 66 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer, or
  • 270 more hip replacements, or
  • 1,041 more cataract operations.

Dr Martin Whiting, Chair of North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are appealing to patients on repeat prescriptions to think about what they order and only ask for what they need and are running out of.

“The saving from this will mean more money can be spent on treating illnesses such as cancer and heart disease instead of being wasted on unused and unwanted medicines.

“Sometimes people think that unused medicines can be recycled – but this is not the case. Once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be reused and have to be destroyed.

“In addition, NMCCG has asked local community pharmacies in north Manchester to contact all patients and carers before they dispense a repeat prescription so that they can check which items are needed each month.

“Hopefully this will reduce medicines being dispensed which are not needed at that time”.

Posters and leaflets will be displayed in GP practices to raise awareness of medicine waste among both patients and carers. Further information may also be found at

If you have any queries about your medicines, please contact your surgery or local pharmacy to discuss them.