Avoidable medicine waste is a drain on resources and can lead to poorer health outcomes. As such, the UK National Health Service (NHS), and other healthcare providers, regard it as a significant problem and are seeking systems, such as novel packaging, to tackle the issue.
To stimulate innovation the UK NHS has issued seven challenges, one of which is focused on reducing medicine waste. The NHS is aiming to cut avoidable medicines waste by 50 per cent and increase adherence to high cost and critical treatments by 30 per cent.
Applications are being sought from: private sector organisations partnered with someone or some organisation within the NHS; universities and other academic groups; charities and social enterprises; and individuals, groups and organisations within the NHS.
Submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel made up of independent consultants, NHS directors and people from the private sector. Following review the expert panel will recommend an overall winner and a number of runners up the Secretary of State for Health.
The expert panel will also recommend prize values on a case by case basis. “In every case the added value of the innovation to the NHS will be many times more than the prize value”, says the initiative’s website.
Currently there are seven challenges: improve pregnancy management; cut healthcare associated infections; boost independence for those with kidney failure; earlier cancer diagnosis; reduce avoidable visits to GP surgeries; and minimise re-attendances.
More challenges are due to be launched. The initiative hopes to help the NHS deliver “more for less” and achieve “major clinical breakthroughs” despite entering “a period of substantial economic challenge”.