An Analysis of Returned Medicines in Primary Care
- 307 Downloads
Objective: The number of pharmaceutical items issued on prescription is continually rising and contributing to spiralling healthcare costs. Although there is some data highlighting the quantity, in terms of weight of medicines returned specifically to community pharmacies, little is known about the specific details of such returns or other destinations for wasted medications. This pilot study has been designed to investigate the types and amounts of medicines returned to both general practices (GPs) and associated local community pharmacies determining the reasons why these medicines have been returned.
Method: The study was conducted in eight community pharmacies and five GP surgeries within East Birmingham over a 4-week period.
Main outcome Measure: Reason for return and details of returned medication.
Results: A total of 114 returns were made during the study: 24 (21.1) to GP surgeries and 90 (78.9) to community pharmacies. The total returns comprised 340 items, of which 42 (12.4) were returned to GPs and 298 (87.6) to pharmacies, with the mean number of items per return being 1.8 and 3.3, respectively. Half of the returns in the study were attributed to the doctor changing or stopping the medicine; 23.7 of returns were recorded as excess supplies or clearout often associated with patients’ death and 3.5 of returns were related to adverse drug reactions. Cardiovascular drugs were most commonly returned, amounting to 28.5 of the total drugs returned during the study.
Conclusions: The results from this pilot study indicate that unused medicines impose a significant financial burden on the National Health Service as well as a social burden on the United Kingdom population. Further studies are examining the precise nature of returned medicines and possible solutions to these issues.
Key wordsCommunity pharmacy General practitioners Medicine waste Prescribing costs Primary care Returned Medicines United Kingdom Waste
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Department of Health2000The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart DiseaseHMSOLondonGoogle Scholar
- 3.Department of Health2001The National Service Framework for DiabetesHMSOLondonGoogle Scholar
- 4.Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community Statistics for 1991 to 2001: England. London: Department of Health, 2002. ISBN 1 84182 572 7Google Scholar
- 5.Department of Health2001Community Pharmacies in England and Wales: 31 March 2001HMSOLondonGoogle Scholar
- 6.Jackson, RH. 1999Case for monitoringPharm J263861Google Scholar
- 7.Hospital Episode Statistics. London: Department of Health, 2002. Available via http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/02/86/64/04028664.pdf. Accessed March 2003
- 10.Grainger-Rousseau, T-J, Fielding, DW, Smith, MA, Daws, D, Desrosiers, D 1999What’s left in the medicine cabinet? The British Columbia EnviRx ProjectPharmacotherapy19527Google Scholar
- 12.Bradley, TJ, Williams, WH. 1975Evaluation of medicines returned in Manchester DUMP campaignPharm J215542Google Scholar
- 14.McGovern, EM, Tennant, S, Mackay, M. 2002Audit of returned medicines to community pharmacyPharm World Sci24A1112Google Scholar
- 15.Grant, P. 2001Return of waste medicines to a community pharmacyPrescriber122938Google Scholar
- 16.Hawksworth, G, Wright, D, Chrystyn, H. 1996A detailed analysis of the day to day unwanted medicinal products returned to community pharmacies for disposalJ Soc Admin Pharm1321522Google Scholar
- 17.SPSS.http://www.spss.com. Accessed August 2001
- 18.Department of Health2002Prescription Cost Analysis Data 2001HMSOLondonGoogle Scholar