People in the Midlands urged to take part in 'antibiotic amnesty'

People across the Midlands have been called on to return their unused antibiotics to over 300 pharmacies to help prevent people from developing antibiotic resistance.

Health chiefs have issued the calls – branded an "antibiotic amnesty" – to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It comes with a reminder that people should only ever take antibiotics which have been prescribed the and they should never use them later, or give them to someone else.

Holding onto unused antibiotics and taking them without a prescription increases the risk of antimicrobial resistance where the antibiotics become less effective against illnesses.

Andrew Pickard, Pharmacy Advisor at NHS England (Midlands), said: “Following last year's successful Antibiotic Amnesty, I would encourage everyone to check their cupboards and drawers for any old or unused antibiotics and return them to their local pharmacy for safe disposal.

"This will support the World Health Organisation’s global action plan aimed at reducing the amount of antibiotics that end up in the environment which is a major cause of antimicrobial resistance.”

People should contact their pharmacy before visiting to make sure they are taking part in the campaign. During November last year, 240 pharmacies took part and collected almost 500 part or full packs of antibiotics during a two-week period.

And for the first time ever, the campaign is also encouraging pet owners to return unused antibiotics to veterinary practices for safe disposal.

Lisa Jones, a patient ambassador for Antibiotic Research UK, said: "My health has been affected by resistant infections for many years now, as I have suffered both skin and respiratory infections which keep recurring.

“When I become ill, my family are also affected as they care for me, and my life is put on hold. I desperately need antibiotics to keep working when I need them.

“That is why it is so important to never share antibiotics with others, and to dispose of leftover antibiotics safely. This can help to limit the spread of bacterial resistance in the environment and reduce the risk to people’s health”.

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