Medicines going to waste are costing NHS Fife over £2 million a year - the equivalent of around 110 community nurses, 80 community midwives or 54 community dentists.
In a bid to cut down on wastage, the health board is preparing to launch a major campaign highlighting the issue and urging the public to play their part in helping to reduce the costs.
The campaign will highlight the costs imposed on the NHS as a result of over-ordering medicines, particularly on repeat prescriptions, or people continuing to order medicines they no longer need.
Fiona Eastop, pharmacist at NHS Fife, said: “This campaign is urging everyone to think before they order repeat prescriptions and check before ordering any more, even if ordering for a relative or someone you care for.
“Also, if there are medicines which you do not like to take, or are unable to swallow, simply ask to speak to your pharmacist or GP at any time to discuss alternatives.”
When it is launched the campaign will urge people not to order medicines ‘just in case’, calling on patients who may run out of medicine simply to visit their GP or pharmacy.
With pharmacies receiving deliveries every day there should be no major delays accessing medicines when needed.
The campaign will also highlight stockpiling medicines at home is a safety risk and unused medicines should be returned to a pharmacy.
Glenrothes MP Lindsay Roy recently highlighted difficulties pharmacists have faced getting medicine supplies.
This he week he praised the campaign saying: ‘’This is something our hard-pressed health service can ill afford and I congratulate NHS Fife on this welcome initiative.
‘’£2 million is a considerable sum of money that they could use to benefit communities throughout the Kingdom.
‘’Individuals have a responsibility to ensure that they are not wasting precious resources by needlessly over-ordering medicines or continuing to order medicines they no longer need.’’
Added the MP: ‘’It is essential that a prescribed course of treatment is completed, but if there are any unused medicines in the home, they should be disposed of safely by taking them to a pharmacy.’’