Medicines Waste Campaign

Ask Your pharmacistPeople in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to make the most of the skills and expertise of their local pharmacist to help save the NHS money.

This is part of the ongoing ‘Your Medicines, Your NHS’ campaign, which aims to reduce medicine waste which currently costs around £4.7m* in Norfolk and Waveney each year.

Ian Small, head of medicines management for the Norfolk CCGs, said: “Pharmacists are at the frontline of the NHS and can offer a huge range of help and advice on minor illnesses and injuries, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and infections.

“We would encourage anyone who needs help with common ailments to make their pharmacy the first port of call and get expert health and advice in a matter of minutes without an appointment.”

Tony Dean, chief officer of the Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “Community pharmacists are highly trained and skilled at assessing if they are able to deal with a condition or if it requires onward referral. We welcome that this role is being highlighted in Norfolk.

“As we come up to the festive period, all medical services will be under massive pressure. We’d encourage patients to take the responsibility to make sure they have sufficient prescribed medication (but please only order what you really need), and perhaps consider having an appropriate small supply of basic medicines and first aid materials to treat some minor conditions safely stored in the home.”

You can find out more by visiting and clicking on the links from the homepage. Alternatively, you can follow the campaign on Twitter @YourMED_YourNHS and use the hashtags #askyourpharmacist and #yourmedicines.

Why do we need a campaign?

Every year in Norfolk and Waveney, an overall an estimated £4.7m is wasted on unnecessary, and unused medicines (based on Department of Health figures for the UK nationally). This excludes the costs of prescribing medicine which could be bought cheaply over the counter and the unnecessary costs of prescribing branded medicines over non branded.

According to figures for last year, we estimate that there was approximately 176 tonnes worth of waste medicine across Norfolk and Waveney in 2015. That’s equivalent to the weight of 176 average Elephants, and costs an estimated £4.7m to the NHS.

Based on average costs, this £4.7m wasted on medicine every year in Norfolk and Waveney is equivalent to:

  • 184 more community nurses OR
  • 1270 new hips OR
  • 313 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer OR
  • 47 more GPs