Almost £1m lost with wasted medicines

NEARLY £1m each year in West Suffolk is being wasted on discarded medicines new figures reveal.Suffolk West Primary Care Trust (PCT) said £900,000 is spent every year by patients on prescriptions which are never taken.

NEARLY £1m each year in West Suffolk is being wasted on discarded medicines new figures reveal.

Suffolk West Primary Care Trust (PCT) said £900,000 is spent every year by patients on prescriptions which are never taken.

Nationally, experts estimate that up to 50 per cent of medicines are not taken as prescribed, with up to 17pc of hospital admissions being due in part to medication-related problems.

Last month The Evening Star revealed how the money wasted on discarded medicines in Suffolk could pay for 100 hip replacement operations, 600 cataract removals or 18 practice nurses each year.

Rachel Webb, head of prescribing for the Trust, said: "For our area to be spending £900,000 a year on medicines which are not taken is of great concern.

"We are appealing to patients to make sure they get the best from their medicines by understanding more about what they are taking and why.

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"We want to encourage patients to get fully involved in decisions about their medicines. To do this we have to increase awareness of the various sources of reliable medicines advice and information that are available."

As part of Ask About Medicines Week – which takes place next week – Suffolk West PCT is encouraging people to get into the habit of asking questions about their medication.

By discussing their medication with their pharmacist as well as with their GP, patients can learn more about what their medicines are for, how long they are supposed to take them, and any interactions with other medicines, alcohol or food.

Staff at the PCT hope that patients who are better informed will be more likely to take their medicines as prescribed and so will get the most benefit from them, as well as avoiding unwanted effects and wastage.

Tony Ranzetta, chief executive, said: "We need the help of the public to ensure that we get real value for money.

"This is especially true with medicines. It is very worrying that £900,000 of our £34million prescribing budget is spent on medicines that are never used – this is treatment that the NHS is paying for but which isn't helping our patients."

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