Appeal after £3m medicine waste in Cumbria

Patients in Cumbria are being urged to think twice about whether they need prescriptions after £3m of unused medicine was destroyed.

The NHS in the county said 13.6 metric tonnes of medicines were returned last year to be safely disposed of.

It wants people to think before asking for a prescription or ordering a repeat one.

It says the money spent on buying unneeded prescriptions is equivalent to the salaries of 140 nurses for a year.

'Tip of iceberg'

People are asked to return unused or unwanted medicines to community pharmacies so they can be incinerated safely.

Those that were destroyed last year were worth £2.8m but health chiefs believe there is a lot more that they do not know about.

One of NHS Cumbria's lead GPs, Dr Peter Weaving, said: "That really is just the tip of the iceberg. That is the waste that we know about.

"That is the medication that is returned to pharmacists. There will be a lot more out there in people's cupboards."

He said both patients and GPs had a responsibility to reduce the waste.

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