Patients in the Midlands are encouraged to return their unused pills to local pharmacies as part of Antibiotic Amnesty campaign

A new “Antibiotic Amnesty” campaign running across all community pharmacies in the Midlands is asking people to hand-in their old or unused antibiotics to any local pharmacy for safe disposal.

Antibiotics should never be saved for later or shared with other people. Any unused medication needs to be disposed of safely at a pharmacy.

Using antibiotics other than for the purpose and person they were prescribed for increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, where the bacteria that cause infections become resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health threats facing the world today. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous, as they rely on access to antibiotics that work. The antibiotic amnesty links to Antimicrobial Awareness week this week.

Returning unused medicines to a pharmacy also helps to protect the environment by avoiding contamination through sewers and landfill.

People should not always expect to be prescribed antibiotics. Many mild bacterial infections get better on their own without using antibiotics and they do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

If you are prescribed antibiotics take them as directed, finish the course and do not share with others.

Andrew Pickard, Pharmacy Advisor at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said:

“Taking your unused or old antibiotics to any pharmacy is a very easy thing to do which will make a huge difference.

“We are reminding patients how they can dispose of these medicines safely to protect each other and the environment”

Richard Seal, Regional Chief Pharmacist for NHS England and Improvement in the Midlands, said:

“Every year the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week runs (November 18-24) to remind us that Antimicrobials need to be handled with care and to help raise awareness and education about the threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

 “Everyone can play their part by taking their old or unused antibiotics to any local pharmacy to be disposed of safely.”