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To find this stockpiling of medications really annoying?

(326 Posts)
MindSweeper Fri 09-Sep-16 14:26:01

'This medicine was returned by a patient today. Once medicine has left a pharmacy it cannot be reused for safety reasons. All of the inhalers are full. The purple ones alone (all 42 of them) are worth £60 each. That is £2520 worth of medicines that the NHS could be using for something useful'

Medication wastage currently costs the NHS £300,000,000 per year.

It's shocking how much we have to waste in hospitals too, I see how much is destroyed and it makes me think how much good that could do for people in countries who don't have access to meds.

What solutions can you think of?

People are shifting the blame on pharmacists and doctors, but a lot of the time this stockpiling is people just not telling their doctors they're not taking medications, and still ticking the box to receive the med.

Arfarfanarf Fri 09-Sep-16 14:29:43

wow, that's a lot.

I wonder if a system where you had to collect your prescription and hand in your empty blister pack/inhalor/whatever might help. At least it would force people to think about what it is they're doing.

Or maybe they'd just empty out the meds. But surely not, that would be bonkers.

legotits Fri 09-Sep-16 14:29:47

Blimey.

Publicity for a start.
A warning printed on a prescription bag perhaps.

TheDisreputableDog Fri 09-Sep-16 14:29:50

That is appalling. Can you report it to their GP so that they are aware the patient is not using the medication and can discuss it with them?

TheDisreputableDog Fri 09-Sep-16 14:30:01

That is appalling. Can you report it to their GP so that they are aware the patient is not using the medication and can discuss it with them?

SharonfromEON Fri 09-Sep-16 14:32:11

I do think there is something not right here... Asthma patients should be reviewed.. Our DR's will not reissue my prescription routinely if reordered with over a month of prescription left. So yes I do think there is some GP error here..

I also think posting this stuff online will make people think.. Most have no idea how much medication costs.

TimeIhadaNameChange Fri 09-Sep-16 14:32:49

Bloody hell! How much are the ventolin inhalers, just out of interest?

I suppose there are a couple of options:

1) Only give out new medicine when the old packaging is returned. Maybe have one or two allowance, but other than that new ones can't be given out without the empty cartons / pill sheets etc.

or

2) Change the packaging so that if the seal is intact the medicine can still be used. Tamper-proof like you get on some aspirit bottles or the like.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Fri 09-Sep-16 14:34:09

That's worse than annoying.

MindSweeper Fri 09-Sep-16 14:34:39

It's not my patient TheDis, I pinched this from online ha.

sharon but what's to stop the patient from lying? I get a load of patients who claim to be taking their regular meds but when pharmacy go through the meds they've brought in it obviously isn't the case. Reviews can't help that really. An estimated 50% of patients are noncompliant with their meds either not taking them, taking them incorrectly etc. It's a difficult issue

DoItTooJulia Fri 09-Sep-16 14:37:07

My DM has cancer. You wouldn't believe the amount of medication that she's prescribed. And it comes in massive amounts. Not one bottle of X, but 5. Every time.

She was prescribed something that cost £1000 per bottle. A course of the medication was actually a bottle and a half. But the doc couldn't prescribe a bottle and a half: it had to be 2 bottles.

It made my mum desperately sick, so she only had a handful of doses out of the 2 bottles.

I have it in the boot of my car ready to take to the pharmacy but I am putting off taking it back because I'm embarrassed to be wasting something that's SO Expensive.

I don't know what the answer is, but now I really don't want to take the medication back for fear of being judged.

MindSweeper Fri 09-Sep-16 14:37:55

Our DR's will not reissue my prescription routinely if reordered with over a month of prescription lef

This looks like someone who is filling their monthly prescription but not using it so the inhalers have accumulated.

MindSweeper Fri 09-Sep-16 14:39:40

doitjulia PLEASE do not feel embarrassed about that, your mum tried it, couldn't use it and that's that. If she had stockpiled dozens of bottles purposely that'd be another story but it's completely understandable that she couldn't finish the bottle.

yeOldeTrout Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:09

Logically... medication reviews. But why would you if patient seemed stable.

Presumably, on plus side, that person no longer needs (or consent to use) meds & at least they stopped getting scripts filled, rather than continue forever getting prescribed items. So the future waste is now stopped.

Maybe we could harp on the drug companies for charging so much, too.

Arfarfanarf Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:25

thanks Doit, that's so so different to someone reordering stuff over and over and over again. There's how many purple inhalors there? 42? Ordering 42 times knowing that you were not using them is not at all the same thing as getting prescribed something that you then discover you simply cannot use.

Soubriquet Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:26

It's ridiculous

My ds was on a lacto free milk before he was changed to a completely cows milk protein free milk

I had 6 sealed tons of baby milk left. Hadn't even been touched

I couldn't return it as it would have been disposed of and it would have been such a waste.

It's sad

Tumtitum Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:33

I used to work with a doctor who would collect medication which would otherwise be destroyed by the pharmacy and take it abroad where he used to do some work with a charity, I'm not sure if it was entirely legal or not tho... confused

brasty Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:35

That is awful OP.
But I have a chronic illness and also was prescribed lots of different things as they were trying to find something that works. The medication left over that didn't work, had to be returned to the pharmacy. It really was not my fault that there was so much left unused.

PacificDogwod Fri 09-Sep-16 14:42:49

MindSweeper, I'd thought about starting a very similar thread grin

I think every medication that goes out should have the price printed on them, in large numbers, in red, VERY visible.
Not for people to pay or to feel bad but to value their medication.

And yes, many routine meds cost pennies while a prescription charge is much dearer, but many are very very expensive.

I think as usual the problem is multifactorial: chemists have a commercial interest to dispense meds, drs need to have robust systems in place to make sure they do not overprescribe (easy to do with your prescriptions/day are measured in inches, not dozens) and patients need to take ownership and be responsible for their stuff.
There is a huge issue with people who are maybe beginning to lose their cognitive function or are simply anxious and lonely overordering and nobody being aware of what's in their cupboards sad

AntiquityAgain Fri 09-Sep-16 14:43:59

I guess it depends on the reason why?

When my dad died there was a shameful amount of medication around the house, he had hoarding problems and some was just unfindable until clearance and the rest, well, who knows, it's not like it was all stacked up together.

PacificDogwod Fri 09-Sep-16 14:44:42

Locally, we also had an issue with pharmacy managed repeats which has led to a lot of overprescribing as the IT systems the pharmacists used where unable to take medication off their list, so kept being requested even though patients had not asked for them.
Or so the justification went hmm

We have now stopped accepting pharmacy requests and in the first month, prescriptions have gone down by 25% or near enough shock

Fanjolena Fri 09-Sep-16 14:45:10

Make a leaflet with this photograph and what you've said above and pop them in each bag of meds you dole out at your pharmacy with a polite request to not request medicines they no longer need.

brasty Fri 09-Sep-16 14:46:44

Also my DP kept complaining as DP would request repeat prescription of 1 drug, and get given everything on repeat, even though more was not needed.
It is not always the patients fault.

madamginger Fri 09-Sep-16 14:47:19

I threw away £12500 of unused HIV drugs a couple of weeks ago. The patient had about 6 months supply and was changed to a new drug combo. I felt so awful putting it in the doop bins angry
We also had a different patient return 110 100mcg durogesic patches once. They cost £57 for 5 patches. They weren't out of date but they'd had them a while and didn't like to use them angryshock
The worst though was the patients son who brought in 3 bin bags of Volterol tablets when she died, she wasn't taking it but thought she should get it because it was on her repeat. 5 years worth of unused painkillers just thrown in the bin.
It's shocking what we throw away, people have no idea of the wastage from unused drugs

MindSweeper Fri 09-Sep-16 14:47:27

If people have had to have several medication changes and have stuff left over, or stuff they can't use and have no longer carried on getting it, that's completely understandable and the problem we have with that is tackling how it can be re-used.

My main issue is people purposely stockpiling. My nan used to do it, the 'well you never know when it'll come in handy' argument. If you don't need it, tell your doctor and get it removed. If it's not working, request a change.

Rockpebblestone Fri 09-Sep-16 14:47:44

I think that amount of medication 'stockpiled' is suggestive of a patient not wanting to take medication they have been prescribed but feeling unable to discuss this with the doctor.

Tbh I am not at all surprised. Especially with older patients, some doctors, only too often, seem to be keener to prescribe a medication rather than giving diet and lifestyle advice . My own DF, on being measured as borderline diabetic, (after an operation a well known to affect this), would have been prescribed medication, had he not suggested a change to his diet and lifestyle might make a difference. It did. Thankfully he is outspoken enough to tell the doctor.

Equally, many people of my parent's generation are prescribed statins, as a precautionery measure. Some will not want to take them but to not feel confident enough to speak up.

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