The Department actively promotes safe use, storage and return of unused, unopened and unwanted medicines to pharmacies for safe disposal. Since the introduction of the new community pharmacy contractual framework from 1 April 2005, the collection and disposal of unwanted medicines has been an essential service provided by all community pharmacies.
Information on the safe use, storage and return of unused and left over medicines has been included on the NHS Direct website. The NHS Direct self-help guide in the Thompson local directory, which has been distributed to 17 million households across England from April 2006, has a full-page advert encouraging people to return old and unwanted medicines to pharmacies for safe disposal. Messages about safe use, storage and disposal of medicines were also included in the “Ask About Medicines Week” campaign in November 2005.