Pharmacy technicians could help reduce medication waste

 

In response to the following article:

 

“Tramadol overdose death raises questions over repeat prescriptions.”

 

Dear PIP Editor,

 

I believe patients are being put at risk due to how repeat prescription services are being managed. I agree that in this case excessive accumulation of prescription medication is a common occurrence and I have seen this in practice.

 

The amount of excess medication returned to community pharmacies is evidence of this. There are often bin bags full of unused drugs returned when people die or go into a care home.

 

Perhaps this is something we could be using our community and GP practice pharmacy technicians for?

 

Managed repeats, where pharmacies take control of ordering on behalf of patients has been stopped by our CCG. The patients are now responsible for ordering their own medication. Local studies have shown medicines were often ordered when the patient didn’t need any because the pharmacy had not spoken to patients.

 

To make sure this type of case never happens again we need to question the patient about the medicines they have in their homes before ordering or issuing a prescription.

 

Better communication is needed between GP surgery, patient and pharmacy.

 

I think ‘when required’ medicines should be taken off repeat prescription and sent to practice pharmacist to authorise an acute issue. The quantity should be limited to smaller amounts. We need to ensure we have a conversation with the patient or their relatives and carers before issuing to try to determine what medication they have at home and how many they use etc.

Yours etc.

 

Helen Beaumont

 

Practice pharmacist

 

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