Disposal of Unwanted Medicines

Are your medicines no longer needed?​

Here’s how to dispose of unwanted medicines safely.​

Hot Chemist Medicines Disposal

1. Start by reading the instruction leaflet

All medicines have different storage conditions, for example some prescription medicines like insulin need to be kept in a refrigerator. It is very important to check the instructions that come with the medication box for advice from the manufacturter on how the medicines should be stored. It is also helpful to always keep your medicines in the original labelled box and instructions for you to be able to refer to them easily.

2. Medicines should not be kept in the bathroom

A popular place we store medicines is in the bathroom cupboard. This however is the worst environment for majority of medications. Kepping them in a cool, dark and dry place is normally the recomendation. Whereas bathrooms are usually wet and steamy which can cause damage to the medicines.

3. We should keep out of sight and reach of children and pets

Keeping medicines out of sight and reach of children and pets is very important, even if the medicine is meant for them. An ideal place to store the medicines would be a high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place.

4. Is it time to clear out your medicine cabinet?

Pharmacists, on average, are asked twice to three times a week about whether it is safe to take out of date medicines, and medicine expiry dates. Some customers have even asked if they can take unused medicines which had expired in 1930 and 1960!

In the UK, annually, it is estimated there is a massive £300m worth of unused medicines.

5. We should always check the expiry dates

Whether you have medicines from either over the counter or prescription medication we should always check the expiry dates. Medicines become ineffective when they expire causing a risk to your health. They may even cause harm if they are taken by someone else they were not intended for.

6. Every six months rule to try and clear out your medicine cabinet

If you take regular prescription or multiple medicines, it is best to double check your medicines expiry date every six months to ensure that you only keep those medicines that are in date and still required. Also remember to check the dates on medicines you may have purchased like antihistamines or paracetamol or cold and flu reliefs.

7. Make sure you get a medicine box

Find a safe place for your medicines and you can also purchase a medicines box to help you store your medicines neatly.

Trouble collecting your prescriptions

How to dispose of your medication safely

Medicines should never be disposed in the bin, down the toilet or sink

Incorrectly throwing medicines away could lead to them being found by young children or found by those that they are not intended for. Medicines being flushed or poured down the sink also poses risks to the environment.

Return old or unwanted medicines back to the pharmacy

Once you have identified medicines that are no longer needed and the rest are stored correctly, out of date or damaged should be returned to your local pharmacy or to us at Hot Chemist where they can disposed of safely. If you have any questions about how to dispose of your medicines correctly, speak to us over the phone on 01908 803499 or use the forms below and insert them in your parcel prior to returning them back to us.

Checklist on pharmacy considerations for accepting unwanted medicines during COVID-19​

Return address

Return your unwanted medicines by 

1. Read and comply with: 

Checklist on pharmacy considerations for accepting unwanted medicines


2. Print and complete two forms and include with your medicines returns parcel:

Form 1: Returning your unwanted medicines to this pharmacy.

Form 2: Returns form.

 3. Return your parcel in discrete and appropriate packaging back to Hot Chemist using our freepost address:

FREEPOST Hot Chemist

NOTE: No stamp is required when using our freepost address for returning medicines.

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