Every year in the UK £100million of waste medicines are returned to community pharmacies for waste disposal.
This is seen as the "tip of the iceberg." In addition, reviews across different diseases report that between 30% and 50% of patients do not take their medicines correctly. Medicines supplied on prescriptions in the community are estimated to cost the NHS £8.5billion in 2008/2009, which could mean that £4.5billion of medicines is not used correctly.
Caroline Lucas visited Fields Pharmacy in Eldred Avenue, to get a better understanding of community pharmacy, the services pharmacy provides to the people of Brighton and how community pharmacy could support reduction in waste medicines. Caroline met the staff of the pharmacy, Nasim Ladak the pharmacy owner and Vanessa Taylor from the body that represents local East Sussex pharmacies.
Caroline said "Community pharmacies provide a hugely valuable service to local communities, and we must ensure that their role is both preserved and enhanced in the government's proposed NHS reforms. Pharmacists don't only dispense prescriptions locally, they can offer vital consultations and advice, and have a crucial role in helping patients understand the correct use of medicines. I was shocked to discover that at least £100m is wasted in the UK every year as a result of unused medicines. We urgently need to address this."
All community pharmacies must have a pharmacist in the pharmacy, who will have spent four years at university and then a year of practical training learning about medicines. Pharmacists are available to give advice to patients and customers every day, in an informal setting, without an appointment. They also sell medicines and dispense prescriptions. Pharmacists also provide a range of other FREE services including medicines check-ups of patients' regular medicines, stop smoking and collection and delivery of prescriptions.
Posted Sunday January 23rd 2011
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