HEALTH bosses have launched a campaign to stop Bolton people wasting money on prescripted medicine, after it was revealed it costs the NHS £1.5 million each year in Bolton alone.

NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) estimates that £50 million is spent annually on prescriptions, but much of it is then not used or taken incorrectly.

Through the Hard Pill to Swallow campaign, the CCG hopes to persuade Bolton people to stop wasting antibiotics as each prescription costs the NHS money, even when they are bought by fee-paying patients.

A central part of the campaign, launched on February 24, is to deter people from “stockpiling” regularly prescripted medicine unnecessarily.

Dr Stephen Liversedge, clinical director for primary care and health improvement at the CCG, said: “We can all take action to protect our own health and that of the local NHS by using medicines responsibly.

“I strongly urge everyone to only order what they need and speak to their GP if they are unsure why they have been prescribed something, or how it should be taken.”

Many people arrange for local pharmacies to order regularly prescripted medicines and may receive more than they need, which they should tell their GP. The CCG is also warning against “stockpiling” at home, not least because medicines have expiry dates.

The public should also take note that the overuse of antibiotics can render them ineffective.

Coughs, colds and sore throats are usually viral, not bacterial, an so not treatable with antibiotics.

Courses of prescribed antibiotics should always be completed as directed by a doctor as failure to do so could damaging your health and risk making antibiotics less effective for everyone.

Dr Liversedge added: “Overuse, underuse or incorrect use of antibiotics make bacteria more resistant to these medicines. This is one of the most serious threats to patient safety in our health service today.”