The acceptance of unwanted, out of date, or waste medicines for disposal from patients and household by community pharmacies is an essential service.
This service has not been suspended during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Community pharmacy teams have understandably expressed concerns about the potential for infection from unwanted medicines returned to the pharmacy for disposal, where the patient may have or have had coronavirus (COVID-19).
However, the pharmacy has a duty of care to support patient safety and accept unwanted medicines back for disposal in as safe a manner as possible.
In the current pandemic, this means implementing additional steps to minimise the risk of infection from returned medicines both to those seeking to return the unwanted medicines and the pharmacy team.
To support pharmacy teams to do this, the NPA, the Patient Safety Group, the RPS and PSNC have produced guidance.
They have also produced a flowchart to visually outline the steps the contractors should take.