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Unused Drugs

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if his Department has made an assessment of whether anti-tamper containers would be of use for reducing expenditure on unused drugs; [117012](2) whether his Department has made an assessment of which drugs are most commonly returned to the NHS unused; [117013](3) whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost of unused drugs returned to the NHS each year. [117014]

It is estimated that unused medicines returned to pharmacies are probably worth £100 million per year. Although information is collected on which primary care trusts have schemes in place for the collection and disposal of waste medicines, we do not collect information on the kinds of drugs that are returned to pharmacies unused.Anti tamper containers would not be of use for reducing expenditure on unused drugs since, once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be reused. The reasons for this include hygiene and safety. It is also not possible to guarantee that any returned medicines have been stored appropriately in patients' homes.