FINANCE: The primary care trust has launched a new campaign to try and reduce the number wasted medication in the country.

The Medicine Waste campaign, which began on 28 February 28, sees posters and leaflets displayed in pharmacies and GP surgeries across the county, urging patients to order only what they need. IT is particularly targeted at patients or their carers who continue to request more repeat medicines than they really need and “stockpile them” at home

 Ian Small, deputy head of prescribing and medicines management at NHS Norfolk, said unused prescription medicines cost NHS Norfolk up to £4 .8m every year.

The £4.8m worth of wasted medicine comes from a total medicines budget for NHS Norfolk of about £120m per year.

“Therefore, Norfolk patients throw away about £1 in every £23 that is spent on prescribed medicines.”

The £4.8m figure only represents medicines handed back to pharmacies, not those taken back to hospital units for disposal or thrown away at home. It also does not include the cost to the NHS of having to dispose of these medicines properly.

Medicines which tend to be wasted more often are preventative medicines, such as those for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and asthma inhalers. Painkillers and drugs for depression are also often thrown away.

NHS Norfolk has compiled a checklist, to encourage patients to order only what they need.