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The redistribution of medicines: could it become a reality?

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-23, 12:12 authored by David McRae, Mark Allman, Delyth JamesDelyth James

 Aims and objectives

Prescription medicines that are returned unused to pharmacies in the United Kingdom (UK) cannot be supplied (or redistributed) to other patients. The aim of the study was to investigate whether or not consensus could be achieved between pharmacists on the barriers and potential solutions they perceive towards the redistribution of returned medicines.


A two-round electronic modified Delphi study was employed. Statements were generated following qualitative interviews (n = 29) with doctors, nurses and pharmacists from primary and secondary care from one Health Board (HB) in South East Wales. The Delphi panel were asked to rate the degree to which they agreed (or disagreed) with each statement. The panel was recruited via an email invitation forwarded to all hospital (n = 70), primary care (n = 11) and community pharmacists (n = 77) from one HB in South East Wales.

Key findings

Two rounds of Delphi were completed by 17 pharmacists. Consensus was achieved for seven (n = 26) ‘barrier’ and seven (n = 16) ‘solution’ statements. From the statements which achieved consensus, it was identified that the following criteria would need to be met for pharmacists to potentially accept the redistribution of medicines in solid dosage forms (tablets and capsules): protection for pharmacists; guidance from the professional regulator; tamper evident seals; ‘as new’ packaging; technologies to indicate inappropriate storage and public engagement.


This study suggests that pharmacists would potentially be willing to redistribute medicines in solid dosage forms if certain criteria are met.


Published in

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice


Oxford University Press


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


McRae, D., Allman, M. and James, D. (2016) 'The redistribution of medicines: could it become a reality?', International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12275

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Delyth James

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Public Health and Wellbeing

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  • © The Publisher


  • en

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