Disposal of Unwanted Medicines

Disposal of Unwanted Medicines at Peak Pharmacy - pharmacy staff checking old medicine box

Have you recently looked in your bathroom cabinet, or your medicine cupboard and found some old out-of-date medicines and thought about putting them into your bin?  Well, you are not alone, some studies have suggested that in the US 29% of people questioned would throw unwanted medicines into the bin, and 26% would flush them down the toilet.

You may wonder what harm could come from this and again studies have shown that medicine-active ingredients have been detected in groundwater at landfill sites due to drugs leaking into the surrounding environments and even more worryingly found in water after treatment at the wastewater plant. 

So what can you do to help the environment?

Easy, return your unwanted medicines back to the pharmacy for destruction.  All pharmacies in England can accept unwanted medicines, whether they be tablets or liquids it matters not.  You don't even need to return them to the pharmacy they came from! And best of all there is no cost for doing it, but even better than returning them to us is ensuring medicines are used correctly so there is nothing to return.

In the financial year 2022/23 the NHS drug bill was approximately £10.4 billion and around £300 million pounds of this was wasted (3%) due to unnecessary ordering of medication, and prescribing errors.  So when you next order your prescription, please do your part and think "Do I need this?" 

What happens to the medicines?

Peak Pharmacy use a specialist waste contractor funded through the NHS to take medicines patients return and dispose of them safely.   

What can't I return?

Unfortunately, pharmacies in England cannot accept used sharps/needles for destruction. Please speak with your GP or local council to learn more about sharps removal in your area. We can of course accept everything else! 

Need more information, why not read this guide on disposing of unwanted medicines? 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9372935/