Pharmacy staff at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are urging people to check their medicine cabinet before ticking the boxes on their repeat prescriptions to help reduce medicines waste.

Dr Adam Mackridge, (Deputy Head of Pharmacy for Primary and Community Care (East)) said: “Many thousands of people with long term conditions order their medicines by ticking the boxes on their repeat prescriptions every month.

“Before ticking those little boxes, we’re asking people to please check their medicine cabinet to see what they already have in stock and what they need for the coming month.

“Millions of pounds worth of medicines are wasted every year as people tick everything on their repeat prescriptions but in reality they may not need them. Pharmacies receive many unwanted medicines returned by people who have ordered more than they need - sometimes these amount to hundreds and hundreds of pounds for a single patient.”

There are a number of ways that you can help stop medicines from being wasted:

• Let your GP or Pharmacist know if you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines

• Check what medicines you still have at home before re-ordering

• Discuss your medicines with your GP or Pharmacist if you have any questions or problems

• Think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms and only order those you really need

• If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it

• If you need to go into hospital, please remember to take all your medicines with you in a clearly marked bag

• Please also remember that your medicines are prescribed only for you; it’s not safe to share them with anyone else

• Safely dispose of old or unwanted medicines by returning them to a pharmacy for destruction

By reducing the amount of medicines being wasted each year, we could increase the available funding for other desperately needed health services.