Video from group n° 043


Welcome to the webpage of group n° 043

The topic we have decided to explore is the following : the waste of medicine which triggered waste of money and ecological issues. This represents 7 billion euros every year and 23,500 tons of medicine packages due to the way of producing, selling and consuming the medicine.

Our video

Our paper

Sustainable Performance - Waste of medicines #Group43

Thanks to our video, you now know what the reasons of such a waste of medicines are. The medical experts we interrogated approved of the solutions we proposed (increasing the price people have to pay themselves for medicines, selling the appropriate amount of medicine according to what is written on the prescriptions, etc). Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to go further into the consequences such a change in the world of medicines would lead to, which we are going to explain here.

First of all, selling medicines individually would help to reduce problems about self-medication. For instance, a study led by 60 millions de consommateurs proved that 28 out of the best 61 self-medicated medicines are actually unhealthy to use by ourselves (regarding cold, flu, cough and throat pains). Selling all medicines individually would push people to be more cautious about their medicines consumption, as they would benefit from specific advices of the pharmacists and wouldn’t suffer from overmedication.

Moreover, the waste of medicines in France has a tremendous impact on the economy. As a matter of fact, in 2015, the deficit of the Social Security amounted to 12.8 million euros. This is why an experiment of selling medicines individually was launched in September 2014 with a few drugstores to help the National Health Service to raise about 10 billion euros before 2017. Encouraging drugstore to keep acting this way is the key element to walk towards change, because ordinary people’s mind will change more easily if their surroundings encourage them to.

Nevertheless, we are fully aware that such a change takes time, both in minds and in organization, especially with the pharmacists being partly reluctant to the individual sell. Indeed, the main problem to such a method would be the problem of the traceability of box-less medicines which won’t have any batch number.

But even if some pharmacists are reluctant to this idea, 99% (according to a survey by the newspaper Sudouest) of drugstore customers believe this would be a great idea which would allow to save money and reduce waste. We therefor believe that it’s just a matter of habits, of familiarization: it’s natural to be reluctant to change, and all changes take time. But once people, and especially pharmacists, will have adapted, the consequences will be tremendous and surely no one would regret the way medicines used to be sold. But for now, if we truly want this system to materialize, an efficient way to speed up the process would be to financially compensate the time pharmacists spend to sort out medicines and deal with their traceability. Because even if this will cost money to the State, it will eventually result in bigger savings.Other consequences we can observe are about the environment. Indeed, the waste of medicine is most of the time thrown in the nature. Pharmaceutical products are biologically active, so they have unintended impacts on the environment. We talk, for example, the fish feminization due to the waste of contraceptive pills. We also know that, in Europe, around 4000 pharmaceutical references that are used for humans and animals are sensitive to be implied in the nature (according to Cyclamed). The process is the following: people are throwing their non-used medicines in the bin or the toilet, and the components go in the waters or in the nature in big quantities. At a larger scale, more and more wasted medicine in the nature and the waters could lead people to be used to those medications as they will be part of the air we breathe or the water we drink, and then make them useless.