Antibiotic Amnesty

Tackling antimicrobial resistance through safe disposal

Leftover antibiotics should be disposed of safely to reduce the risk of AMR – this prevents hoarding, inappropriate reuse or disposing of them via domestic waste streams. Contaminating the environment and water courses with antibiotic residues can spread resistance genes among bacteria, putting our One Health at risk.

Many people do not realise that leftover antibiotics can be returned to pharmacies or veterinary practices for safe disposal. Our amnesty campaign aims to tackle that, by supporting you to run local amnesty campaigns to raise awareness of simple action that can help to tackle AMR.

On this page you will find advice on running an antibiotic amnesty campaign, and multi-lingual resources to support your local setting.

We all need to get involved!

Everyone can do their bit in fighting antimicrobial resistance – patients, the public, animal owners and healthcare professionals. Safe disposal of antibiotics benefits everyone, so we want to see unused antibiotics returned to local pharmacies and veterinary practices.

We want to see antibiotics being used carefully – prescribed when necessary, taken only for as long as needed and disposed of safely. We need to Keep Antibiotics Working!

Antimicrobial stewardship

All healthcare professionals have a part to play in promoting antimicrobial stewardship to fight AMR. An amnesty campaign is one way to get involved, so speak to colleagues about how they can join in the amnesty:

  • Local Pharmaceutical Committees
  • Community Pharmacy Clinical Leads
  • NHS England Pharmacy Advisors
  • Local NHS organisations – ICBs (England), Health Boards (Scotland) or local Health Boards (Wales)
  • Local veterinary practices
  • Healthcare services
  • Universities

Making this a One Health approach to tackling AMR

Our colleagues in the veterinary profession are uniting to hold an antibiotic amnesty in November, to encourage clients to return unused or out of date antibiotics for companion animals.

Could YOU reach out to make sure that this is a One Health campaign involving human and animal health?

You'll find more information on these websites:

Logos of veterinary agencies supporting the Antibiotic Amnesty