Medicines Waste, 2014 and beyond…

Medicines waste campaigns are becoming more prominent in the pharmaceutical industry. Many new measures and services have been introduced such as MUR’s to improve dispensing efficiency, the aim being to reduce the amount of medication being destroyed as £300m of drugs are being thrown away each year in the UK. Initially “MURs got off to a slow start, but in 2010-11, over 2.1 million MURs were carried out with patients in England”. Medicines waste is a massive drain on the NHS and the pharmacy community in general, especially when coupled with the fact that the NHS has been charged with finding £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014-15. Whilst there’s lot of campaigns and awareness regarding medicines waste at patient level, there’s still the issue regarding medicines waste at wholesaler and pharmacy level. Reducing waste is everyone’s business, and there are issues with some pharmacies and wholesalers stockpiling items that, if unused, end up expiring and being destroyed. This change in culture and practises may result in an increased workload in the short term until the new measures become part of a daily routine. However in the long term it will result in a much more efficient supply chain.