People in Northern Ireland spend more on medicines that England, Scotland or Wales, wasting around £18m last year.
The cost per patient here is around £224, almost £40 higher than the cost per person in Scotland, Dr Terry Maguire, Chair of Belfast Local Commissioning Group of the Health and Social Care Board, told a recent public meeting.
He said people need to think before ordering prescriptions and more focus needs to be placed on preventative measures.
“Last year 38.7 million prescription items were dispensed at a cost of £400 million across Northern Ireland. Of this, an estimated £18million was wasted on medicines that were ordered on prescription but were never used.
“If everyone played their part by cancelling unwanted repeat prescriptions and only ordering what they need, it would help save the health service millions.
“Spending on medicines is important but we need to ask ourselves if it would be better to spend this money in other ways such as improving how we use medicines and services that stop people becoming ill in the first place?
“Transforming Your Care is working to ensure that the health service can continue to meet changing patient needs and provide services that are high quality, sustainable and provide value for money and better patient outcomes.
“But if Transforming Your Care is to succeed we all need to start thinking critically what we as individuals can do to make the best use of our health service.”