The redistribution of medicines: could it become a reality?

  title={The redistribution of medicines: could it become a reality?},
  author={D. McRae and Mark Allman and Delyth Higman James},
  journal={International Journal of Pharmacy Practice},
  • D. McRae, M. Allman, D. James
  • Published 1 December 2016
  • Medicine, Biology, Political Science
  • International Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Prescription medicines that are returned unused to pharmacies in the United Kingdom (UK) cannot be supplied (or redistributed) to other patients. The aim of the study was to investigate whether or not consensus could be achieved between pharmacists on the barriers and potential solutions they perceive towards the redistribution of returned medicines. 
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Findings from the international literature on the different therapeutic classes and the dosage forms of medicines that are returned by patients to community pharmacies, hospitals, general practitioners’ clinics, or collected through waste campaigns could help policy makers understand the potential implications of treating most unused medicines as medication waste and whether therefore pursuing a medicines reuse scheme could be environmentally or financially logical.
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To capture people's beliefs about medicines reuse and to map the determinants of intentions to reuse medicines in the future, a large number of people believe that medicines should be reused and the likelihood of reuse is low.
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Inappropriate medicine storage, use, and/or disposal practices raises public health concerns, particularly as there is a free returned medicines scheme available, and that this particular participant group were considered experienced medicine users.
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Whether the application of circular economy principles can minimise pharmaceutical waste and support sustainability in the pharmaceutical supply chain is investigated and suggests that it should be considered and tested as a sustainable supply chain proposition.
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Pharmacists have various opportunities to reduce medication waste throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain, however, not all are broadly implemented.
The results showed that 48% of the pharmacies surveyed are favorable to the program and would agree to participate with the donation of medicines near the expiration date, and consumer research indicates that the economy generated is the main positive point, while confidence in the effectiveness of medicines tends to be a possible restriction on adherence.
What does it cost to redispense unused medications in the pharmacy? A micro-costing study
Redispensing unused medications in the pharmacy is at least cost-beneficial if applied to expensive medications, and the price level primarily depended upon the proportion of dispensed packages returned unused to the pharmacy and fulfilling the quality criteria.


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  • K. White
  • Medicine, Political Science
    The International journal of pharmacy practice
  • 2010
The scope of medicines wastage in the UK is evaluated, assigning a value to the costs at both a national and individual patient level to assess the cost‐effectiveness of the pharmacy interventions that have been introduced to curb wastage.
Oklahoma allows limited medication recycling: program aims to help indigent patients.
  • C. Thompson
  • Medicine, Political Science
    American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • 2005
Under a program that started in January and has environmental and economic appeal, 19 Oklahoma pharmacies have the state’s permission to dispense prescription medications that had been dispensed
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The authors propose how unwanted drugs could be reused in an attempt to reduce the cost of wasted medicines.
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The debate on the potential for re-using these medicines in developing countries where medicines are not widely available and also within the UK is re-opened.
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Several efforts to recover unused medicines and redistribute them are under way.
Evaluation of the scale, causes and costs of waste medicines. Report of DH funded national project.
Throughout this report references are made to the work of Primary Care Trusts in areas such as medicines management and further reducing medicines wastage.
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Canada lags behind United States in drug return, reuse and recycling programs
Drug recycling seems a more elegant solution than simply flushing pharmaceuticals down the toilet to work their way into watersheds, various flora or fauna and eventually back into the human food
An assessment of community pharmacists' responses to hypothetical medical emergency situations
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Recycling expensive medication: why not?
  • J. Pomerantz
  • Medicine
    MedGenMed : Medscape general medicine
  • 2004
This article suggests that medicine recycling may be a possibility (especially if manufacturers are mandated to blister-package and bar-code individual tablets and capsules), and identifies relevant issues, such as need, rationale, existing programs, available supplies, expiration dates, new technology for ensuring safety and potency.