Playing Prescription Swapsies

In the news this week it has been highlighted just how many people will give unused prescriptions drugs to friends and relatives.  The survey carried out by a leading pharmacy suggests that this could be as high as 16% of people. Pills given unprescribed ranged commonly from antidepressants and antibiotics to major heart condition drugs.

This is symptomatic of common perception of medicine use i.e. that what heals you can’t harm you, but the RCGP issued a statement which warned against prescription swapsies because it is only a matter of time before someone has a potentially fatal adverse drug reaction.

However warnings are clear on prescription labels aren’t they? That the prescription should be taken in full by the intended recipient.

Adherence to Drug Regimes has always been an issue. Another obvious roadblock for some is the prescription charge – but while the prescription charge debate is on hiatus, there are yet other reasons for ineptly recycling drugs. One of which that a good proportion of people feel to go to a GP would be unnecessarily pestering or petty.

Now we are at an obvious juncture  because we want to encourage self-care, but we want to nurture this in the context of professional opinion. Label design is one simple and obvious solution, alongside better awareness and pharmacists being more involved in helping patients understand the remit of the drugs prescribed. Another way to curb this is to think about issuing less pills at a time so that there are none to spare, waste, swap, recycle, lend…

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