How can I help to reduce medicines waste?

There are several ways you can help us to reduce medicines waste. You can find out more about what you can do by visiting our Take Stock pages.

Key ways you can assist:

  • Check what medicines you have at home, then when you’re ready to order only order what you need on your repeat prescription
  • Check your prescriptions bag before leaving the Pharmacy
  • Bring your medicines into hospital (and remember to take them home if they are still suitable)
  • Have any questions? Speak to the Pharmacy team in your local Pharmacy or GP Practice for expert advice


There are medicines on my repeat prescription which I no longer use, what should I do?

Speak to the Pharmacy team in your local Pharmacy or GP practice.

Alternatively, complete our Medicines Waste Form available here.


I’m concerned that my relative has a lot of unused medication in their house which they are not using, who should I speak to?

If you or a relative are receiving medicines which are no longer used or needed, you can complete our Medicines Waste Form available here.

The form can be printed out and dropped into the Pharmacy team at your GP practice or local Pharmacy. Alternatively email or phone (01383) 565490.

A member of the Pharmacy team in your GP practice will be in touch to chat through.

Please note that all information in the form will be treated confidentially.


My prescription has changed. I have several medicines in the house which I no longer use – should I just pop them in the bin or down the toilet?

No, unused medicines can be a safety risk and need to be disposed of properly.

If you have any unused medicines take them along to your Local Pharmacy – they will be able to dispose of them safely.


What happens to unused medicine when I take it back to the Local Pharmacy?

It’s very important to dispose of unused medicines safely. Your Local Pharmacy can do this for you.

The Pharmacy will ensure that any patient information is removed from packaging. Your medicine and the packaging will then be safely disposed of.

Disposing of unused medicines takes up Pharmacy time and there are also associated transport and disposal costs for the Health Board. That’s why it’s important that we all try to do as much as we can to reduce the amount of unused medicine in Fife.


I have a number of items on my repeat prescription, what happens if I don’t need to order them all? Will they be removed from my prescription?

Medicines that you receive on your repeat prescription won’t be taken off if you have enough in the house and don’t need to order them at this time.

Just tick the medicine that you need.

You will still be able to get any medicines that you haven’t ticked on your repeat prescription the next time you order them.


How should I best store my medicines?

Most medicines should be stored in a dry place away from heat and humidity.Some medicines have special instructions for storage. Check the prescription label for special instructions.

If you’re not sure speak to the Pharmacy team in your local pharmacy who will be able to help.

Remember to store your medicine safely away from children and other vulnerable people.


I always order everything on my prescription just in case I need it, why should I stop doing this?

Only order what you need at the time of ordering. There is no need to over order.

Keeping lots of medicines that you’re not using is a safety risk for children and other people.

If your prescription changes it also means that any medicine you’ve been keeping will have to be disposed of.

Even if you haven’t taken the medicine and the packaging is intact the Pharmacy cannot recycle this.


I have questions about the medicines I receive, I don’t feel they are right for me what should I do?

If you have any questions about your medicine speak to the Pharmacy team in your local Pharmacy or GP practice, they will be able to help.


I’ve heard that you should bring your own medication into hospital. How does that help?

If you are due to come into hospital we ask you to bring your own medicines with you.

There’s a couple of reasons for this:

  • Having all your medicines together helps staff know which medicines you take and how they have been prescribed
  • You’re less likely to miss any doses
  • The hospital Pharmacy  won’t need to dispense more of the same medicines, reducing any waste

And if your medicines are still suitable when you leave hospital, you can take them home with you.


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