Plan to cut medicine wastage

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The Government yesterday announced a pounds 250,000 investment to help reduce the millions of pounds wasted on unused medicines. Up to half of all patients suffering from chronic diseases do not take their medication properly, according to a study earlier this year by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health, speaking at the society's annual conference in Scarborough yesterday, said the money would be used for a research and development programme to get people to take their medicines "at the right time and in the right quantities".

The study, "Compliance to Concordance", showed that patients who did not take all their medicine the first time often had to go back for further treatment. One in five kidney patients were not taking their anti-rejection medicines, which could result in death. And while one in five adults have high blood pressure, which if untreated can lead to early death, many were reluctant to take medication because of negative side-effects.