£2.7m each year in Wiltshire wasted on unused repeat prescriptions

Making sure that you have the right medication at the right time is important to help you to stay well. However, not all prescriptions in Wiltshire are actually required; with recent figures showing that 1 in every 15 repeat prescription items ordered were not required.

In Wiltshire, these wasted medicines equate to a massive £2.7 million drain every year on an already challenged health budget. NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is therefore asking people to review their current repeat prescriptions to see if they still need all of the items listed and to make sure that they only order what they need.

Alex Goddard, Deputy Head of Medicines Management, said:
“If we are to be able to continue to provide high quality health services in Wiltshire, we need the help of local people to enable us to do it.

“By double checking your prescription and by only ordering items that you need you can help us to save thousands of pounds every year. Try not to over order. Although it’s comforting to keep a stock of medication in the cupboard, you may find that your medication expires before you have the chance to use it and you can always order more for when you need it.

“If you have stopped using certain medication, or are taking a different dose, speak with your GP who can carry out a medication review with you to double check that your prescription is still right for you.

“In Wiltshire, over 450,000 prescription items are dispensed each month. With the average cost of one prescription item currently calculated as £7.58, you can see just how much funding is needed across the county to help keep people well. For any items that are returned unused we also have to spend approximately £42,000 each year collecting and incinerating them as they cannot be used again, even if the medication is unopened.

“Taking personal responsibility for your own medication will not only ensure that you continue to receive the right medication but it will also help us to save a considerable amount of money.”

With most GP practices in Wiltshire now offering patients the choice to order repeat medication online or via email, it’s even easier to select just the items that you need at the time you need it. If your local pharmacy manages your repeat prescriptions, make sure your prescription is up to date and that the pharmacist only dispenses the items that you need.