In response to the National Audit Office's 2007 report Prescribing costs in primary care, the Department commissioned the York Health Economics Consortium and the School of Pharmacy at the University of London to carry out research to determine the scale, causes and costs of waste medicines in England. The report, Evaluation of the Scale, Causes and Costs of Waste Medicines, was published in November 2010
Following the report, the Department facilitated a roundtable event hosted by the King’s Fund where representatives of patients, health professionals, the NHS and industry were invited to consider the findings of the research and identify practical next steps that might be taken to help reduce waste, optimise medicine taking and improved health outcomes.
The Department will now facilitate the establishment of a steering group to develop an action plan and report back by early 2012. It is expected that the group will take responsibility for developing and implementing the action plan.