Community pharmacies in the Midlands received 883 packs of full or partially unused medicines during an antibiotic amnesty held in November 2022.
The annual campaign, led by NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB) and NHS Black Country ICB, is aimed to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by reducing the number of antibiotics that are used unnecessarily and unsafely.
A spokesperson for the Scottish government told The Pharmaceutical Journal that it was planning to run a similar antibiotics amnesty campaign through community pharmacies. They said more details would be provided during World AMR Awareness Week, which runs on 18–24 November 2023.
As part of the Midlands amnesty, which was held on 1–30 November 2022, patients were encouraged to hand in old or unused antibiotics to local community pharmacies for safe disposal.
More than 340 community pharmacies in the Midlands took part in the amnesty and pharmacists reported 4,678 conversations with members of the public about its importance for patient safety.
Veterinary practices also joined the amnesty to promote a ‘One Health’ approach for the safe disposal of unused antibiotics.
The 2022 amnesty follows a previous amnesty in November 2021 in the Midlands, at which 369 partially used packs of antibiotics and 126 unused full packs were returned.
Donna Cooper, antimicrobial stewardship workstream lead for NHS Black County ICB, said the amnesty was “a huge success”.
“We all have to do our best to preserve the benefits of existing and future antibiotics, which is why we will be running the antibiotics amnesty campaign again [in 2023] for the third consecutive year, and urging anyone who has any old or unused antibiotics at home to drop them off at their local pharmacy who will dispose of them safely,” she added.
Community pharmacies in the Midlands will run the 2023 amnesty campaign throughout November with the support of local GPs, dental practices, veterinary practices and universities.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has encouraged organisations across the UK to set up antibiotics amnesties and has created a toolkit aimed to help local healthcare providers organise campaigns.