HC Deb 04 April 2000 vol 347 c393W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the quantity and value of unused drugs returned to pharmacists for disposal for each year since 1995; and if he will make a statement. [116365]

Mr. Denham

Information on the quantity and value of unused medicines is not collected centrally. It is important both that patients take the medicines they need, and that they are not prescribed more medicines than they need, since this wastes money which could otherwise be used to benefit other patients. We have put in place a number of initiatives to reduce the quantity of unused medicines, such as making regular review of patients' medication by general practitioners a condition for payment of the Sustained Quality Allowance and funding pilot schemes where pharmacists manage repeat prescriptions, including checking that patients are taking the medicines that they have been prescribed and actually need further supplies. We will consider extending this initiative if the results of the pilots show that this reduces waste.

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