Cambodia Tales: A word about waste

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Looking through the lenses of Cambodia society, the writer points out the trend of unnecessary over-prescription of medicines for patients, in this day and age. Perhaps the question to ask ourselves as palliative care workers is “Does taking this medication help the patient NOW, if the medication is meant for controlling certain chronic conditions for the next 10 years?” Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life, and reducing the number of tablets they take may help them improve their appetite, and also feel better emotionally. Can you imagine having to swallow 10 tablets, 3 times a day?

“It has been estimated that in the UK over £2 billion a year is spent on unnecessary, expensive or inappropriate treatment. Furthermore, it is thought that around £300 million is spend by the NHS on wasted medications, as often happens when a person’s medication regime is changed and medicines get stockpiled at home, or when repeat prescriptions are issued without review.

To put this in perspective, the gross domestic product for the whole of Cambodia last year was around $50 billion (approx £37 million).

One of the main ways in which waste can be reduced is through adequate support at the point of prescribing. It is also essential that the effectiveness of medicines, and any adverse effects, are closely monitored, as people may decide to stop their medicines if unsupported.”

Read the full article on ehospice here.

**Opinions expressed in the APHN blog reflect the views of individual authors, and do not represent those of the editorial team or the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network.

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