£100,000 wastage on repeat prescriptions

PHARMACISTS in Suffolk have urged patients not to order repeat prescriptions they don't need –after valuing the wastage at more than £100,000.Health services in the county have warned they could improve services without raising taxes, if patients did their bit to cut spiralling prescription costs.

PHARMACISTS in Suffolk have urged patients not to order repeat prescriptions they don't need –after valuing the wastage at more than £100,000.

Health services in the county have warned they could improve services without raising taxes, if patients did their bit to cut spiralling prescription costs.

A survey of prescription drugs returned to Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust has revealed that 13,988 items were given back unused by patients in one year. The cost of the drugs was £136,838.

Sue Lawrence, prescribing adviser for the trust, said: "Almost 500 unopened containers of medication were returned.


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"About a third of the items returned were on repeat prescription, which raises the question of why the patient ordered them if they were never used.

"I would urge patients only to reorder medication when it is needed, and to tell their GP if they aren't taking any medication which has been prescribed for them.

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"It helps their doctor if patients tell them that the medicine is not being used, for whatever reason. It is important for the delivery of care that each doctor knows exactly what their patient is taking."

Community pharmacists are available without an appointment to answer patients' questions about medication that they are taking.

Ana Selby, trust chief executive, said: "A prime aim of the newly formed Suffolk Coastal PCT is to ensure we get the best healthcare possible for the people in our area. We need the help of the public to ensure we get value for money.

"This is especially true with medicines.

"It is very worrying that £136,000 was wasted on unused medications. This money would have made a real difference to the services we provide.

"It could have paid for several nurse specialists to work with people with chronic illnesses at the primary care level, or allowed us to employ a number of community nurses to care for people in their own homes.

"The aim of the PCT is to reduce this unnecessary spend, but we can only do this with the help of patients.

"The Budget may have seen extra resources ploughed into the NHS, but this is one way we can save money to spend on patient care without raising taxes."

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