Millions of pounds each year are wasted on unwanted medicines in Sussex.
The NHS in Brighton and Hove and the High Weald Lewes and Havens area calculate at least £3m is spent on prescriptions for drugs that are never used.
This is the equivalent of funding an extra 60 community nurses or carrying out 280 more heart by-pass operations.
In one incident, a pharmacy in Newhaven received unwanted medication from one patient which was worth £7,262.
Clinical commissioning groups, GPs and pharmacists say one of the biggest issues is medicines on repeat prescriptions.
These are ordered and collected by patients but end up not being used because the person no longer needs them or already has enough at home.
Even if they are never opened, once medicines have left the pharmacy or dispensary they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else.
The drugs also have to be destroyed in an incinerator which has a further financial and environmental impact.
The NHS is now calling on people to do what they can to help reduce the waste of medicine and save money.
Katy Jackson, head of prescribing and medicines commissioning for Brighton and Hove CCG, said: “This is money that could be much better spent elsewhere on providing a better and more effective health service for local residents.
“If anyone has unused medicines at home, please take them back to a pharmacy for safe disposal and have a chat with your pharmacist or GP about your medication and how to use them more effectively in the future.”
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