Two thirds of Bristol NHS prescriptions wasted

The Bristol NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says that nearly two-thirds (63%) of drugs prescribed through the city’s NHS are unused.

Bristol CCG expert Jenny Gibbs made the comment at a presentation yesterday as part of Bristol’s Health City Week 2016. Gibbs’ research, based on 2000 patients in 2015, found that 30% of patients are no longer taking medicine as prescribed after just 10 days.


Gibbs described how £5 million is spent every year on unused medicine in Bristol alone.  The national £300 million annual cost was termed ‘eye watering’ and the environmental impact of the wastage was highlighted in an NHS report last year.

‘Money down the drain’

As much as 10 tonnes of medicines waste is incinerated and sent to landfill each day in Bristol.

The 2015 report research showed that 30 – 50% of prescribed medicines are not taken as recommended, meaning that there has been a wastage increase of almost 15% in one year.

Dr Martin Jones, Chair of NHS Bristol CCG, describes the wastage as ‘money down the drain.’

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