Department of Veterans Affairs

Reduce Prescription Drug Waste

As a VA Pharmacist, I've witnessed patients bringing bags full of medications back to the medical center claiming that they'd never asked for them or that they have too much at home. Those medications can not be reused and must be destroyed at great expense to the VA. This not only leades to wasted money (in drug cost, personnel, postage and disposal costs), it encourages stockpiling, and can also contribute to national drug shortages, which are becoming more frequent. Present practice is to fill all new prescriptions whether the patient requests them or not, mailing them automatically if the patient doesn't stop at the pharmacy to pick them up before he leaves the medical center. We need to consider changing practice by educating staff and patients that VA will provide their medications upon request so that we can all become better stewards of our medication resources.

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Idea No. 6939