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This Policy defines the principles of good practice to be observed for the safe and effective disposal of medication that is no longer required by the service user. This addresses both non-prescribed (“over-the-counter” - OTC) and prescription medicines, including controlled drugs.

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies, as appropriate to circumstances:

Policy No 3300 Medicines Policy - General Policy for Managing Service Users’ Medicines

Policy No 3301 Medicines Policy - Safe Storage of Medicines in the Service User’s Home

Policy No 3302 Medicines Policy - Administration of Medicines to a Service User

1. Medicines may be considered to be “unwanted” for the following reasons:

  • Being surplus to requirements following discontinuation of a course of treatment;

  • Where the expiration date as displayed on the medicine packaging has been exceeded;

  • Where it is suspected that medicines or their containers have been tampered with;

  • Where medicines are not in their original packaging and there is significant doubt as to their identity.

2. Medicines for disposal should not be flushed down the toilet or added to the household waste at the service user’s home. Medicines must be taken to the prescribing pharmacy at the earliest opportunity.

3. The service user / advocate / responsible family member should be advised to return any unwanted medicines to the prescribing pharmacy. Care staff may only remove medicines for disposal if specific consent is given to do so by service user / advocate / responsible family member. If the service user is unable to do this then the Domiciliary Care Services Manager must be contacted who will arrange for disposal.

4. Records must be maintained of all unwanted medicines that are disposed of in this way, and a signature obtained from the person at the pharmacy who receives the medicines. Form No 3-304 refers.

5. Records must also be maintained of all medicines disposed of, and the reason for it, in the service user’s case notes or Care Plan.


Form No: 3-304 Medicines Disposal Record

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