When my 84 year old mum died, (praise be to her for having such a wonderful son) I went with my sister to empty her bungalow. We found box after box of her medications, some of which cost the NHS over £70 a box. It added up to hundreds of pounds.

Now my poor old mum would have been horrified at this waste of money if she had known how much they cost. She probably thought they cost the same as a box of paracetamol. Would it be a good idea for the pharmacy to print on each medicine the cost to the NHS?


22 Replies

  • What a fascinating idea there, Bobby. I do know that the Spiriva Respimat costs £48.00 each which was quite a shock. That is probably the reason why everyone in our surgery has been prescribed the inhalation powder - the cost is cheaper and apparently there were some issues with heart problems (don't panic those who still use it).

  • A Think Not When You Attach Cost To Things Patient Care Is Not At Forefront Of Discussions

    Then The Whole Issue Of Being F#### And Is It Really Worth Spending That Much Comes Into Play

  • I don't think it will be a good idea as daz says.

    My doc has already mentioned there may be cut backs in some of the medications as the NICE info is now indicating certain health meds are not a good idea to be taking long term, I don't mind so much as I refused one of them because of the awful side affects, the other I take half dose (these are bone meds) so whether this is just because of the inappropriate long term use or because of cut backs or even a combination of both remains unknown.

  • Bobby - I take a load of stuff and have often wondered how much it would cost. Is there a manual we can look up. Sheer curiosity> I used to have psoriasis and Dovonex was around £25. I asked for some hydrocortison cream for a skin condition, and was given two tubes. I believe there is a big waste of medication, which, I wonder could be avoided.

  • Actually cost of medicine should not be an issue for the patient. If prescribed, the patient shoud use the medication. We should all be responsible and only get repeats of the meds we need and use! I have heard of many stories where the patient gets everything on the script every time, whether they need it or not. Sometimes, just to keep the doctor supposedly happy.

    Waste, on the other hand, is, and should be an issue! As tax payers and ex tax payers and responsible patients we should all do what we can to stay healthy and manage our health with the healthcare provider!! Not, i repeat, NOT let the healthcare provider manage it for us.

    Keep breathing and stay healthy


  • That's what mum used to do Kevin. She got everything on her list whether she needed it or not. She just didn't realise the cost of these things.


  • I had trouble stopping the chemist sending all the items I had on repeat when I only requested a couple of items. The chemist blames the Medical Centre and vice versa. Once delivered, of course, they can't be returned. It still happens occasionally, despite the fact that I write on all repeats the total number of items wanted.

    Gina x

  • You are doing your part! You are trying to avoid waste! Their systems need attention, perhaps an extra bit of training for staff to get it right??

    Continue to do your part and hopefully they will do theirs!

    enjoy you day Gina


  • My mum the same,bless,when she died.she had a big Tupperware full of tablets and things not used and some over 2 years old.i think your idea a good one.

    Oh,and everyone of mums tablets she called mogadons. !!!! Ha ha

  • A really interesting topic. We are very lucky in this country to get our meds for the cost of a prescription fee. I have to pay for mine and I am appalled when I hear people moaning about paying just over £7 for something that might really cost much, much more.

    Lynne xx

  • My daughter's a pharmacy tech., and often says when a patient dies they get several carrier bags of unused meds, and all has to be destroyed !!!Once it has been issued, even if seals etc. are intact, it goes for the incinerator. Madness - I bet there are people in some countries, let alone our own, who would be willing to take a chance that the storage conditions may not have been exactly ideal. (If you can get hold of a BNF (British National Formulary) book, there is usually one in the Library, or MIMMS, they list all the drugs and their cost.) I suspect one reason for not putting prices on is because some things cost just pennies, and people would not want to be paying a full prescription charge for them.

  • Funnily I googled about medicine disposal in the UK after reading this blog and found out that some GP's can register with a company called Intercare who will collect unused medicines from those GP's and redistribute in Africa. Maybe if anyone is sufficiently concerned they could ask their surgery whether they are signed up or not, because at least that way some good use is put to those unused meds. The link is here if anyone is interested :

  • Great idea, will do this :-)

  • Excellent idea - I hate waste.

  • I looked at this too - but it means the surgery has to screen the meds and decide what is suitable etc and arrange the collections - can't see it happening - or am I just getting cynical in my old age?

  • No, not cynical just wishful thinking that there is some altruism left. Going to ask my surgery about it shortly. If they don't maybe they will think about it - it's always worth an ask, as never asks, never gets :)

  • Good thinking Scrobbity. I think I will do that too. It's a big practise so they might do it.

    Bobby xxx

  • When I did my trip there this afternoon, guess what? Oh you guessed.

    Completely forgot. Well going again on Friday so that will be the first question this time.

  • For safe disposal of meds the pharmacy can usually dispose of them safely.

  • i do agree, my aunty, was taken ill at Christmas, and we found enough medicines to cover a dinning room table piled up, every time she had her repeats she had everything, I was thinking the same, she is 84, we gave them back to the pharmacy, a terrible waste of money, they possibly ought to be like milk get new when you return the empties,

    I think as they are free to over 60's they do not realise the value, or the implications.

    regards Richard

  • I am on my GP's Patient's Reference Group and next meeting I will bring up the idea of recycling prescription items although at the moment I personally do not have much in the way of surplus drugs. When Mum died there was a lot and although it did go to the chemist I knew they would be destroyed, what a waste!

    I have a running repeat going with my chemist, they deliver and occasionally ring to see if I do want everything on the script which I usually don't. I get the repeat every 28 days yet some of the items supply more than 28 days, one gives me 56 days which means it really should only be delivered alternate times. Why can't each prescription just give the same number of days supply for every item?

    Yesterday I was at a meeting where I saw the cost of some hospital procedures. Back in 2001 I had two MRI Scans on my head followed by a couple every year for 6 years to make sure the brain tumour did not return once removed. These days one scan costs over £4000! Good job it is free at the point of use!

  • Yes and the drug companies continue to make millions ...............

    It's amazing how many people chuck surplus meds down the loo which end up in our water supply. :(

You may also like...