New RPS toolkit helps providers set up an ‘antibiotic amnesty’

Ahead of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (18-24 November) the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is encouraging local NHS organisations to set up an ‘antibiotic amnesty’ to ensure unwanted antibiotics are returned to appropriate settings for safe disposal.

RPS has created an antibiotic amnesty toolkit to help local providers run a campaign to encourage people to return their unwanted antibiotics to community pharmacies, veterinary surgeries, universities or elsewhere to remove them from circulation.

Unsafe disposal can contaminate the environment and increase the spread of resistance genes among bacteria, putting human and animal health at risk.

Mark Gilchrist, Consultant Pharmacist Infectious Diseases and Chair of the RPS Expert Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance said:

“An ‘antibiotic amnesty’ campaign can be run at any time to align with the priorities of a local area. 

“The toolkit provides ideas on how providers can identify and engage with key stakeholders, how and when to run a campaign and how to measure its success, along with other resources such as posters and digital assets.”

RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said:

“We’re committed to tackling antimicrobial resistance and improving antimicrobial stewardship in partnership with providers across the healthcare system.

“Returning antibiotics that are out of date or no longer required for safe disposal is an important way to reduce antimicrobial resistance. That’s why we’re supporting providers with a resource to set up an ‘antibiotic amnesty’ when suitable in co-ordination with local teams.”

Take a look at the antibiotic amnesty toolkit and find out how you can take action against antimicrobial resistance.