A BAXENDEN pharmacist is backing a campaign to stop £3.5M worth of medicines being wasted in East Lancashire every year
That amount could pay for more than 100 community nurses or nearly 5,000 cataract operations.
East Lancashire Primary Care Trust is concerned that patients routinely collect prescription medicines even though they no longer require the drugs.
Linda Bracewell, of Baxenden Pharmacy on Manchester Road, said: "We are hoping to reduce the amount of medicine that is wasted. People often come in to collect their medicines and then realise that they no longer need them.
“We want to encourage people to think whether they really need the medicines. As part of the scheme we can put them in touch with a community pharmacist, who will help review their prescriptions.
“If anyone has any unused medicine at homes at home we are encouraging them to bring them back to the pharmacy for safe disposal.”
Health professionals hope the campaign will save money for the NHS, allowing more money to be invested in local community healthcare throughout East Lancashire.
Catherine Harding, head of medicine management for East Lancashire PCT, said: "In the North West as a whole, wasted medication is costing the NHS more than £40M every year. A lot of health provision could be provided with that money.”
“The aim of this two-month campaign is to raise awareness among the general public to reduce this huge amount.
“We want to stop the waste medicine cycle starting in the first place. If everyone did their bit a lot of savings could be made without any loss to anyone."
Another focus of the campaign is to rause awareness of the dangers of hacing unused medicines lying around the home, where they can be a significant danger, particularly to young children.”
People are also being encouraged to drop out-of-date or unused medicines into their local pharmacy, where they can be disposed of safely.