The National Pharmacy Association is calling on its members to step up their role in reducing the cost of primary care.

Last week’s National Audit Office report Prescribing in Primary Care claims that as much as £100 million could be saved by cutting down on medicines wastage and, as such, the NPA is encouraging pharmacists to contact primary care trusts to raise awareness of how they can help reduce this.

A recent BBC online poll asking: “Who is responsible for ‘wasting millions on drugs’?” found that over 30% laid the blame with doctors and over 45% patients themselves, while just 7.43% thought pharmacists were responsible. “The poll is indicative of public perceptions but NPA members can offer PCTs the means of redressing the balance,” the Association stressed.

Pharmacy-based services such as the Medicines Use Review and repeat dispensing are proven ways of making sure prescription drugs are being used rather than thrown in the bin, the Association says.

MURs were introduced in 2005 with the aim of helping patients take their medicines more effectively. They give pharmacists the opportunity to quickly identify any factors that might affect patient compliance, such as not taking medicines as directed or drug interactions.