Better Management of Repeat Prescriptions

My wife works in a retail pharmacy. A lot of people have multiple items (sometimes over a dozen) on their repeat prescriptions, some items last 2 weeks, some a month or longer and some medicines are only required as and when needed. However she finds that most people especially the elderly and those that do not pay for prescriptions, tick that they require all of their medicines every time, even though they may not need a particular medicine on their repeat list. Hence they build up large surpluses of medicines that never get used. Very often, very large bags of surplus medicines are returned to the pharmacy when the person dies (sometimes several bin bag fulls), and these have to be sent for destruction.


1) Improve the system so that the repeat prescription list prints the date when it is next required /or was last obtained, so that the doctor is aware of over prescribing. e.g. If a medicine prescribed every month, is requested at the same time as one prescribed every two weeks, then the doctor can see from the date whether the monthly prescribed medicine is required, or if the patient should still has some from last time.

2) When large surpluses of medicines are returned, do they have to be destroyed if they can be re-used. Nowadays nearly all tablets are in blister packs and are date stamped. For medicines that are not affected by temperature or storage conditions, can they not be sent to the hospital for use there if well in use by date. The government has already paid for the medicines, so this may reduce the medicine bill at the hospital.

Why the contribution is important

Reducing unnecessary over prescribing of medicines saves money.

by PaulC on May 04, 2017 at 08:51PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.8
Based on : 6 votes


  • Posted by Hemmingway May 05, 2017 at 08:32

    Totally agree with this.
    I have also seen large amounts of expensive drugs just thrown away.
    There must be better management of prescriptions/repeat prescriptions/and dealing with unused prescription drugs. Some of these drugs are very costly.
  • Posted by ninjadispenser May 06, 2017 at 17:03

    Firstly,the repeat slip DOES say when it was last issued and even so,the Surgery receptionists are very good to check if it is due.I can tell you they don't send the prescription unless it is due within a week.
    Secondly,the Doctor is not the one who prints off the prescription if it is a repeat,it is the receptionist and then she passes it under his nose for signing.Do we actually think the Doctor has time to study each prescription? It is usually the Pharmacy that raises any concerns about dosage or combinations of drugs and interactions.Pharmacists are much underrated as clinical experts,but I have seen first hand how their interventions have saved lives and Doctors careers.
    Returning unused medications to stock/hospital is illegal and one doesn't know what the storage conditions were prior to return.
    The solution has to be at source,that is at the Surgery and at the Pharmacy.Doctors,cut down n the amount of pills given on the first prescription and Pharmacies,get customer to check what they are picking up BEFORE they leave the Pharmacy.
  • Posted by Buster May 06, 2017 at 22:32

    I have found on my repeat prescriptions when one is issued it has the date on. If I ask for one say 2 weeks before the due date the secretaries won't issue it.
    I would assume that practice is in every doctors.
    What I would like to see is the actual cost of medication printed on the label that the chemist produces, this may well prick conscious.
    I also believe that instead of scripts being provided free of charge, it should be means tested.
    It is obvious that means testing will be brought in, then once you have the system for one it can be used for many.
  • Posted by Buster May 06, 2017 at 22:35

    As it relates to medinmedicines being returned I can fully understand the risk that they may have been tampered with.
    I know this doesn't sound correct, but could it be given to charties who need medication in the third world.
  • Posted by Buster May 06, 2017 at 22:35

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by Buster May 06, 2017 at 22:36

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by Hopsandmalt May 08, 2017 at 22:14

    It is often the receptionist that is responsible for ignoring the ticks and handing out everything on the list regardless. They rarely get it right. Often they have substituted items and have not removed obsolete items no longer needed. This is a issue of careless bad attitude that you cannot legislate for.
  • Posted by ninjadispenser May 11, 2017 at 23:35

    Although mistakes are made when prescriptions are issued at the Surgery,in general,they are what has been ticked on the repeat slip.Also,why don't the customers check what they are picking up before they sign the prescription and leave the Pharmacy? If something IS on the prescription that they didn't want,it can be undone by the Pharmacy and taken out of the bag and reused as it has not left the premises.The Pharmacy is NOT paid for that item as it is amended to 'not dispensed' on both the form and the computer record.
    Maybe the Surgeries could be a little more attentive but so could the customers as we are always reminding them to only order what they require next time. It's the illusion that we are all so 'busy' that has fed the belief that there is no time to do this.
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