International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 196–204 | Cite as

Redispensing of medicines unused by patients: a qualitative study among stakeholders

  • Charlotte L. BekkerEmail author
  • Helga Gardarsdottir
  • Toine C. G. Egberts
  • Marcel L. Bouvy
  • Bart J. F. van den Bemt
Research Article


Background Medication waste has undesirable economic and environmental consequences. This waste is partly unavoidable, but might be reduced by redispensing medicines unused by patients. However, there is little knowledge of stakeholders’ views on the redispensing. Objective To identify the stakeholders’ views on the redispensing of medicines unused by patients. Setting Dutch healthcare system. Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 Dutch stakeholders from September 2014 until April 2015. The interview guide included two themes: medication waste and redispensing of unused medicines. The latter included qualitative-, legal- and financial aspects and stakeholder involvement, with specific attention to the patient. Interview transcripts were subjected to thematic content analysis. Main outcome measure Requirements related to the redispensing of unused medicines. Results All stakeholders considered the redispensing of medicines desirable if the implementation is feasible and the requirements for the safe redispensing are met. All of them pointed out that the product quality of redispensed medicines should be guaranteed and that it should be clear who is responsible for the quality of redispensed medicines. The stakeholders stated that transparent communication to patients is essential to guarantee trust in the redispensing system and that patients should be willing to use redispensed medicines. Moreover, the redispensing system’s benefits should outweigh the costs and a minimal economic value of medicines suitable for redispensing should be determined. Conclusion Redispensing unused medicines could decrease medication waste if several requirements are met. For successful implementation of a redispensing system, all relevant stakeholders should be involved and cooperate as a joint-force.


Medication waste Qualitative research Redispensing Stakeholders The Netherlands Unused medicines 



We are thankful to all stakeholders that were willing to participate in our study.


CB was partly funded by Pfizer with an unrestricted grant. Pfizer did not contribute in any way to the study design, data collection, analysis and manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

C. Bekker reports grants from Pfizer, while conducting the study. Dr. Gardarsdottir reports grants from Innovative Medicine Initiative Joint Undertaking (, outside the submitted work. All other authors declare they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

11096_2017_424_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte L. Bekker
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Helga Gardarsdottir
    • 2
    • 3
  • Toine C. G. Egberts
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marcel L. Bouvy
    • 3
  • Bart J. F. van den Bemt
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PharmacySint MaartenskliniekNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Division of Laboratory and PharmacyUniversity Medical Centre UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of PharmacyRadboud University Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands

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