The program to return unwanted medicines to community pharmacies in Australia has been given approval for a further 3 year period.

The program will continue to collect and dispose the returned medicines along with an analysis of the items and the research into why consumers are returning them.  The program has been in place since 1998 and has seen 7,000 tonnes of returned medicines safely disposed of.  Great news considering the risk to the environment and to the public of having these medicines remain in the community.

Whilst this is not a new innovation in the community pharmacy practice the sheer volume of returned medicines tells a story.  Do we over prescribe? Do we not give the right advice to patients? Do patients know how to use their medicines? How much medication are we missing out on?

Any other thoughts on the matter?