Harpenden pharmacy counts the cost of unused medicine

PUBLISHED: 14:53 17 September 2011

Dispensing assistant Khyati Patel.

Dispensing assistant Khyati Patel.

AN INNOVATIVE window display has been installed at a Harpenden pharmacy to demonstrate how much public money is wasted through unused medicine.

Manor Pharmacy, in Southdown Road, took the step after audits revealed it lost £10,920 across seven branches in the area, over a four week period. The company’s annual loss is £142,000.

Graham Phillips, superintendant pharmacist at the Manor Pharmacy group, said: “The use of medicine is the most common intervention that the NHS makes and it’s a fantastic investment in public health.

“But, for all sorts of reasons, some people are not taking their medicine. Any that is not used cannot be recycled, but instead has to be incinerated; which is like burning £50 notes.

“With the current state of the NHS, this is a waste of money we can’t afford.”

The display was installed to help people realise the scale of the problem.

“The idea of the display is to get people to realise the value of what is being wasted, as well as the damage it could be doing their health,” said Mr Phillips.

“People have been quite shocked by it.”

Leslie Freitag, who contacted the Herts Advertiser after seeing it last week, said: “I didn’t understand it at first, but once it was explained I couldn’t believe it. I was very impressed that they had done this and I think other pharmacies should do it too. I think people would be amazed at how much is wasted.”

To try and reduce the loss, pharmacies have introduced new services, including the Medicine Use Review, where patients are advised of changes they could make to their medication to make it more convenient for them.

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