NHS Tayside has launched a campaign aimed at reducing the millions of pounds worth of wasted medicines that go unused across the region.
Unused medicines cost the NHS in Scotland millions of pounds every year.
Around £100 million in wasted medicine is returned across the UK to pharmacies for safe disposal annually and the total for NHS Tayside is over £3.5 million per year.
This could pay for an additional 940 hip replacements, 230 drug course treatments for breast cancer, 3500 drug course treatments for dementia or 137 community nurses.
Dr Michelle Watts, NHS Tayside Associate Medical Director for Primary Care, said: “Medicines waste is a serious and growing problem for NHS Tayside.
“Sometimes patients or carers order repeat prescriptions they don’t really need and stockpile them at home. This can lead to huge amounts of medicines being wasted.
“Having a medicines review with your GP will also help to make sure patients are still receiving the most appropriate medication for their condition. You should also let your GP or your pharmacist know if you have stopped taking any of your medication for any reason.
“Many people may not know that unused medicines cannot be recycled. Once medicines have left the pharmacy they cannot be re-used and must be incinerated, even if they are unopened “Unused medicines are a safety risk at home for children and others who may take them. Unused medicines should be brought to the pharmacy for safe disposal.”
Everyone can help NHS Tayside to reduce medicines waste by following a number of steps.
Let your doctor know if you have stopped taking any of your medicines.
Check which medicines you have at home before ordering more – remember that your medicines may come in different packaging.
Think carefully before ticking all of the medicines on your repeat prescription form.
Take your medicines with you if you need to go into hospital.
Discuss your medicines with your doctor or pharmacist regularly.
Never dispose of your unused or unwanted medicines down the toilet.
Return your old medicines to the pharmacy or dispensary for safe disposal.