One company is empowering community pharmacies to buy and sell their own unused stock to cut medicine waste
Spotted: Approximately £300 million (around €350 million) of NHS-prescribed medicines are wasted every year across the UK. And, according to NHS England, medicines account for a quarter of its carbon emissions, so this massive amount of waste is exacerbating an already large environmental issue. There are several ways to battle this problem, from educating patients so that they do not over-order repeat prescriptions to more ethical and sustainable medicine sourcing. Another option is being provided by startup Medicyle, which has developed an Online Medicines Marketplace (OMM) for the buying and selling of unwanted medicines.
Medicycle is aiming to change the way that surplus stock is treated, turning it from a necessary or unavoidable evil to a valuable resource. The startup connects community pharmacies so that they can buy and sell stock with one another. This prevents stock from going to waste and reduces the need for pharmacies to go to the supplier for new products. Pharmacies simply upload their unwanted stock to the Medicycle platform – which is free to use – and the startup then finds it a buyer from within its eco-system.
There is also a second side to Medicycle’s work, in addition to peer-to-peer exchanges between pharmacies. According to the startup, the average community pharmacy uses less than four wholesalers, even though there are around 2,000 across the UK. In using so few suppliers, pharmacies often fall victim to fluctuating stock availability and volatile prices. With Medicycle’s database, pharmacies can access a wider source of medicines, providing them with flexibility and competitive prices when ordering essential products.
The platform is built by pharmacists for pharmacists and is MHRA accredited, so users can be assured that the stock they are purchasing is reliable and safe.
There is an increasing number of innovators looking to revolutionise traditional healthcare operations, just like Medicycle. In the archive, Springwise has also spotted a sustainable medicine packaging system that helps cuts the industry’s carbon footprint as well as a doctor using his platform on TikTok to educate users on important health issues.
Written By: Archie Cox