Wasted ‘vast’ quantities of drugs could pay for 730 heart bypass operations in Devon

Dementia cases are rising.

Dementia cases are rising. - Credit: Archant

Patients are being urged to check their prescriptions as Sid Valley GPs reveal that ‘vast’ quantities of unwanted medicines are destroyed every week.

Some £5.5million is wasted each year in Devon on unused medicines – an amount that could pay for 730 heart bypass operations, 1,000 hip replacements, 2,235 knee replacements or 10,720 cataract operations.

Dr Mike Slot said: “There is always a risk if a patient does not take their medicines as prescribed.

“The doctor assumes they are getting a treatment that they are not, in fact, receiving. This may cause harm in itself or affect other treatment decisions.”

He said that if a patient was prescribed blood pressure pills, for example, and did not take them, the doctor might prescribe additional, possibly less advantageous, medication.

“Also, if the patient suddenly starts taking both, they may come to considerable harm,” added Dr Slot.

‘Second hand’ pills cannot be prescribed or sent to developing countries, so they end up going to waste.

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This costs the NHS money and pushes up the practice’s prescribing costs.

The Sid Valley practice is asking patients to only order the items they need and to inform health professionals of drugs they stop taking.

Residents are also requested to check the contents of their collection before they leave the pharmacy and to take all medicines as instructed.