Health bosses in Cannock are launching a campaign to help reduce the £1.5million of medicines wasted every year across the local area.
Cannock Chase and Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging the public to join them in the campaign aimed at preventing money being wasted on unused or unnecessary medicines. This money could be reinvested in vital, local healthcare services.
Posters, leaflets and stickers on prescription bags will go out to pharmacies and GP surgeries across Stafford and Cannock areas from 19th January, urging patients to think carefully about the costs and to help manage their medicines better.
"It is everyone's responsibility to keep the level of waste down and patients can play a crucial role by ensuring they only order what they need," said Dr Johnny McMahon, Chair of Cannock Chase CCG.
"We are also working closely with pharmacists and GPs across the area to get them to check more rigorously what people need before issuing or dispensing prescriptions.
He added: "Medicines cost the NHS money whether a patient pays a prescription charge or not, so it's vital we all do our bit to help keep prescribing costs down by taking steps to reduce waste."
Dr Anne-Marie Houlder, Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said:
"The amount of money that goes to waste every year on medicines that are prescribed but do not get used always shocks people. Quite often, these medicines just end up in the back of the cupboard gathering dust.
"£1.5 million is a huge amount of waste," she said. "That amount of money could be used to fund over 250 hip operations or treat over 5,500 cancer patients to receive chemotherapy."