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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Safe storage and disposal of unwanted medicine

​​Where to dispose of your unwanted medicines

Keeping out of date and unwanted medicines at home is a safety risk for children, and for vulnerable people who may confuse one pack of medicines for another. Medicines won’t work properly when they are out of date, and they could make you feel a lot worse.

Check your medicine cabinet regularly and hand in any unwanted and out of date medicines to a local pharmacist, who will make sure they are disposed of safely. Unwanted medicines will be accepted for destruction by any community pharmacy and at the hospital pharmacy.

List of registered pharmacy premises

You can hand in any medicine, including:

  • antibiotics
  • inhalers
  • pain killers
  • creams / ointments
  • liquid medicines
  • tablets / capsules

An estimated 1 in 20 admissions to hospital in the UK are related to prescription medicines. Clearing out your medicine cabinet can help reduce the risk.

How to store medicine safely

The following steps will help you store medicine safely:

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children
  • Keep medicines in their original pack or bottle and don't take the label off
  • Store medicines in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight and direct heat unless you are asked to store them in another way. For example, the packaging might state that the medicine must be stored in the fridge.
  • Check your medicine cabinet regularly and remove anything that's out of date

2014 dump campaign

In June 2014 islanders were encouraged to return unwanted and out of date medicines to a pharmacy for destruction. Over a two week period, 120 bin bags were filled with unwanted medicines. The cost of these was estimated at around £250,000. Among the unwanted medicines were:

  • unopened packs of a medicine for nerve pain, worth around £200
  • eight unopened packs of eye drops, all prescribed to one patient over several repeat prescriptions
  • a painkiller that was taken off the market around 8 years ago because of its toxicity
  • hundreds of courses of antibiotics that had been part-used but not completed
  • hundreds of everyday medicines such as pain killers and laxatives

This problem of medicines waste is not unique to Jersey, in the UK estimates suggest that up to half of all medicines aren't taken as prescribed. Medicine waste costs the UK around £300 million every year. 

How you can help reduce medicine waste

There are ways you can help reduce the amount of medicine waste in Jersey. You can:

  • check what medicine you have at home before asking your GP for more
  • if you have a repeat prescription which lists several medicines, only order what you need
  • take medicines prescribed as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist
  • discuss your medicines with your GP or a pharmacist and let them know if you've stopped taking anything

Remember that unopened medicines can't be recycled or used by someone else once they have been dispensed for you. If you don't need something, tell the pharmacist.

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