Medicine Policy & Disclaimer
How Can I Dispose of Unwanted Medicines Safely?
Disposing of Medication in the UK
Have you ever looked into your medicine cabinet when you’re full of a cold, taken a look at some old, out of date cold and flu remedy and thought, “Maybe I should throw this out”? What did you do then? If you don’t dispose of that medicine safely then you could risk harming your loved ones or the environment. But don’t despair, if you’re not sure what to do with your unwanted medication then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to share exactly how you can dispose of that medicine safely and responsibly.
Why would I need to dispose of medication?
Some people think that just because they store their medication safely away, it can stay there for a few decades without any problems, but that just isn’t the case! Sometimes, medicines can go out of date or might get damaged while they’re stored in your cupboard, and this is when they’d need to be disposed of safely. If the packaging of your medication is damaged (for example, the blister packaging on your tablets is torn or broken open before you can use your medicine) then the medication stored within could be unsafe to take and should be disposed of.
Why does medicine have an expiration date?
Medicine has an expiration date for the same reason that food does, out of date medicine could do more harm than good! If the expiry date on your medication has passed, then the drugs could be less effective and could even be dangerous to use. You wouldn’t drink milk that’s been out of date for a week, so think about that the next time you’re rifling through your medicine cabinet and consider taking that paracetamol that expired some time in 1986.
When should I check medication expiry dates?
It’s a good idea to check any medicine that you do have in your home to make sure that it’s still in date and hasn’t been damaged. Make a note in your calendar to check those long-term medications every 6 months or so and if any are out of date or have been damaged during storage, make sure to dispose of them safely. This will stop you from taking any out of date medication by mistake when you take your daily prescriptions, keeping you safe from accidentally taking something that could be dangerous.
Should I order more prescription medicines than I need?
You should never order more prescription medication than you need, in fact, even buying more over the counter pharmacy medications than you need is a bad idea. When you stockpile your medication rather than using it right away, you run the risk of it going out of date and becoming unusable, wasting the medication entirely. As soon as you leave the pharmacy, any medication you take with you cannot be recycled, as it would be unsafe to give medicine that has not been properly monitored to somebody else. This is why you should only order as much medication as you need and are going to use, rather than just ordering your repeat prescription and keeping hold of valuable medicine just in case.
What do unused medications cost the NHS?
Another reason why you shouldn’t keep hold of medication you won’t use is how much that unused medication costs the NHS. The NHS have estimated that unused prescription medicine costs them a whopping £300million every single year! That’s millions of pounds thrown away just by people who are ordering medication they don’t need. That money could fund 11,778 more community nurses every year, so the next time you’re ordering your repeat prescription take a moment to think whether you really need that medication right now. If you don’t order something you won’t need, you could save our NHS a little bit of cash, and every little helps when it comes to funding our health services!
How can a pharmacist help me to dispose of medication safely?
If you’ve got any unwanted medication then your local pharmacist is the person to go to! Any pharmacy can dispose of your unwanted medication safely and for absolutely free! So, don’t try to dispose of your medications by yourself, bag them up and pop down to your local pharmacy so they can do what they need to do to ensure that your medicines are disposed of safely and responsibly.
Can Chemist 4 U dispose of my unused prescription drugs?
Yes, Chemist 4 U is a registered pharmacy, so we can dispose of any unwanted prescription drugs. If you have any unwanted medications you’d like us to dispose of, get in touch with our customer services team over the phone, by email, or on social media. They’ll be able advise you when to package your unwanted medication and send it to us so we can dispose of it safely.
Can I dispose of my old medication at home?
You should never dispose of your old medication by yourself at home, as it could be dangerous. If you throw your unwanted medication into the bin, then it could be found by children or pets who could eat it and make themselves sick. If you try to flush your unwanted medicine down the toilet or empty it into a drain then it could be harmful to the environment, so it’s just a bad idea no matter what you try! Do the right thing, do the safe thing, and give your unwanted medication to a pharmacist so they can get rid of it properly.
Are there any things that my pharmacist can’t dispose of safely?
Although any pharmacy will be happy to dispose of your unwanted medication safely and securely, there are a couple of things that they won’t be able to accept due to health and safety reasons. Some of the items your pharmacist won’t be able to dispose of include:
- Anything that isn’t a medicine
- Dialysis kits
- Paints or oils
- Veterinary products
- Sharps, e.g. needles
Chemist4U won’t be able to accept any waste from care homes or other healthcare providers unless they get consent from our registered pharmacist first. However, we’re happy to dispose of any unwanted medication from any of our patients or members of the public, so give us a call if you’d like to send your unwanted medication to us for disposal.
Now you know everything you need to know about getting rid of your unwanted medications safely! Remember, Chemist4U or your local pharmacist will be able to dispose of any unwanted medicines, so don’t take matters into your own hands. Stay safe, and let us get rid of that 30-year-old paracetamol that’s lurking in the back of your medicine cabinet!
Medicine Restrictions, Self-Care and Signposting Policy
At Chemist 4 U, patient safety and patient education are our top priority. As such we have designed the below policy to protect patients from harm and also to ensure patients are informed about their self-care using OTC products. We also want to ensure patients know when to go to another healthcare professional for investigations around their symptoms.
You may have tried to order a product and received the following message,
We track and limit the below list of ingredients across our website,
- Ulipristal Acetate
We do this to allow us to reach the below objectives,
- To comply with MEP Legal Restrictions for Paracetamol, Codeine, Dihydrocodeine, Aspirin, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine)
- To ensure, best safe practice for misused medicines
- To ensure patients do not have more medication than they need
- Ensuring patients are alerted when they should be signposted to a more appropriate service e.g. their GP or a specialist.
- To alert our healthcare team if a customer has a recurring problem which may indicate an underlying health issue.
Which Medicines should not be purchased together?
Usually medicines that have similar effects on the body cannot be purchased together via our software. E.g. “ Codeine containing products, or two Promethazine containing products. If you have purchased one of these products we limit further purchases within a 28 day (or varying days depending on dosage) time-frame.
We also have varying ingredients that cannot be purchased together that are for different ailments as the risks associated with the two being taken together outweigh the benefits of treating both conditions simultaneously.
E.g. Codeine and Promethazine (Or other antihistamine) containing products cannot be purchased together as their cumulative sedative effects can be dangerous.
Our software will flag up repeat purchases of a particular ingredient. Despite the fact you may be restricted for 28 days if you order a product regularly each month, for example loperamide for IBS or Chron’s disease this will flag to our healthcare team and we will request to confirm your diagnosis with your own GP. Quite often patients are told by their GP to come to an Online Pharmacy and purchase things such as Loperamide, Phenergan for long term conditions that are being monitored, as they are cheaper to purchase than to have via NHS prescription. When your GP comes back to us we can supply the medication once diagnosis s confirmed. You will also be flagged as being approved for Chronic treatment and reminded to speak to your GP regularly.
If our healthcare team feel that your condition would be more suitably treated or investigated face to face they will request that you visit your own GP or another service in your area to ensure you get the correct care.
For services in your area, or information about your condition please visit https://www.nhs.uk/
For information about the medicines you have received please visit https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc
Concerned about yourself or someone having difficulty stopping medicines or medicine misuse? Please visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/ or https://www.talktofrank.com/