Reducing medication waste

Around £300m each year is wasted in unused medication. This could provide masses of extra NHS care and so we need to take steps to plug this leakage of vital funds. Reducing waste is everyone’s responsibility.


  • Unused medicines, even if unopened, cannot be reused due to safety considerations.
  • Unused medicines are a hazard to others.
  • Do not dispose of unused medicines yourself- take them to the pharmacy.

What you can do:

  • Please let your GP or Pharmacist know if you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines.
  • Check what medicines you still have at home before re-ordering.
  • Discuss your medication with your GP or Pharmacist on a regular basis.
  • Take responsibility for ordering your own medicines – don’t leave it to the pharmacy.
  • Think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms and only tick those you really need.
  • If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it.
  • If you need to go into hospital, please remember to take all your medicines with you in a clearly marked bag.
  • Please also remember that your medicines are prescribed only for you; it’s not safe to share them with anyone else.


  • Return out of date medicines to your pharmacy or dispensary for safe disposal.
  • If your medicines change – return your old medicines to the pharmacy for safe disposal to avoid mixing them up with your new medicines.
  • Don’t stockpile medication – it is a safety risk for children and others who might take them.
  • Store medicines in an appropriate place out of reach of children.

More on the Medication Waste Campaign