Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 24th April 2018.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential savings to be accrued to the public purse of the return of unused medicines to the NHS.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department has made no assessment of the potential savings to be accrued to the public purse from the return of unused medicines to the National Health Service.

The Department is concerned about wastage from unused medicines and is keen to minimise unnecessary extra costs. However, it does not promote the reuse of medicines that have left the pharmacy and been returned to a pharmacy by patients, as it is not possible to guarantee the quality of a returned medicine on physical inspection alone. When medicines are returned from patients’ homes, there is no way of knowing how the medicines have been stored or handled.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society publication, ‘Medicines Ethics and Practice - The professional guide for pharmacists (July 2017)’ states, “patients should be advised that unused, unwanted medicines should be returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal”

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