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Dispose of unwanted and expired medications at pharmacy

How much do you know about the medicines you are taking, and what do you do when you no longer need them or they expire?

These are the questions Friendly Society Pharmacy and Friendly Society Private Hospital are asking people to think about as part of Be Medicinewise Week, held annually from August 19 to 25.

Friendly Society Pharmacy head pharmacist Jason Vizgoft said as part of the week, people were being asked to drop their unwanted medicines into the pharmacy.

“Be Medicinewise Week acts as a great reminder that your medicine cabinet could need a cleanout,” Jason said.

“People should dispose of medications regularly so they don’t risk taking expired medicine.”

Jason said over time, both over-the-counter and prescription medication could become less effective and sometimes more harmful. They may also pose a risk if visiting children or grandchildren get into them.

“That’s why it’s important that if you don’t need medicines anymore that they are disposed of properly. When you do have a cleanout, please don’t throw your medication in the bin, even over-the-counter items.

Pharmacy teams know the best way to dispose of all of these items so they don’t end up polluting the environment and our waterways.”

Each August, Be Medicinewise Week aims to provide information and promote awareness on the safe and effective use of medicines and medical tests, which will ultimately deliver better health and economic outcomes.

In 2019, the focus of Be Medicinewise Week is to know the language of medicines – knowing what you are taking, understanding what they are for and being able to speak about this with your health professionals.

Friendly Society Private Hospital will feature a foyer display with information for people to take about how to better understand the medicines they take.

Quality officer Caroline Cavanagh said there were lots of great tools available such as knowing the language of medications so you can make better decisions and questions you can ask your doctor about tests, treatments and procedures.

“Be Medicinewise Week is all about empowering people to ask the right questions and to fully understand their medications,” Caroline said.

“In every health setting, patients need to be at the forefront of their own care for the best outcomes and these resources will hopefully help some patients feel more confident about that.”

IMAGE: Pharmacist Jason Vizgoft and Quality Officer Caroline Cavanagh prepare for Be Medicinewise Week.