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One third of Brits stockpile drugs

Published on 24/06/19 at 09:53am

A third (33%) of brits stockpile medicines, according to new research from Co-op Health.

One in three British people never get rid of leftover medicines while another third have used medicines past their expiry date.

Of those who admitted to using out-of-date medicines almost half (48%) said they did not realise the medicines had expired, one quarter (25%) presumed it would still be safe to take, and more than a tenth (13%) bought the medicines before they needed to use them.

Painkillers (27%), cold and flu remedies (26%) and antiseptic (26%) were amongst those most likely to be kept past their expiry date.

The majority (70%) of Brits said that wasting medicines makes them feel as if they were wasting the NHS’ money.

 Nevertheless, 23% of British people have failed to complete a course of medication – 38% of those finished early because they felt better, 10% were worried about the impact of taking too much, while 20% simply forgot.

However more than a fifth of those who failed to complete a course of medication said they didn’t get better and that they had to get another prescription as a result.

Rachael Clarke, Pharmacy Superintendent at Co-op Health commented: “It’s so important to take care when using medication, if you’re unsure about something always seek advice from a professional and don’t chance it. Not completing courses of prescribed medication can be detrimental not only to our own health, but also to the effectiveness of medication for others.”

“Incomplete courses of antibiotics have become a huge issue and repercussions are undeniable. It’s incredibly common to start to feel better before the end of a prescription but that never means you should stop taking it.”  

Additionally one in seven (14%) of respondents said they took medicines that had not been prescribed for them – 54% of those people said they had been given the medicines by a friend or family member.

Louis Goss

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