Who cares wins? A comparative analysis of household waste medicines and batteries reverse logistics systems – the case of the NHS (UK).
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 14:40 authored by Ying Xie, Liz Breen
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to determine how best to reduce, reuse and dispose of household waste medicines in the National Health Service (NHS) (UK). Design/Methodology/Approach Through a combination of literature review and empirical work, this research investigates the existing household waste medicines Reverse Logistics (RL) system, and makes recommendations for improvement by benchmarking it against household waste batteries RL system. The viability and feasibility of these recommendations are evaluated through in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and end user surveys. Findings The batteries RL system appears to be a more structured and effective system with more active engagement from actors/stakeholders in instigating RL practices and for this very reason is an excellent comparator for waste medicines RL practices. Appropriate best practices are recommended to be incorporated into the waste medicines RL system, including recapturing product value, revised processing approaches, system co-operation and enforcement, drivers and motivations, and system design and facilitation. Research implications/limitations This study offers academics and professionals an improved insight into the current household waste medicines RL system, and provides a step towards reducing an existing gap in this under-researched area. A limitation is that only a small sample of healthcare professionals were involved in subjectively evaluating the feasibility of the recommendations, so the applicability of the recommendations needs to be tested in a wider context and the cost effectiveness of implementing the recommendations needs to be analysed. Practical implications Reducing, reusing and properly disposing of waste medicines contribute to economic sustainability, environmental protection and personal and community safety. The information retrieved from analysing returned medicines can be used to inform prescribing practice so as to reduce unnecessary medicine waste and meet the medicine optimisation agenda. Originality/value This paper advocates learning from best practices in batteries RL to improve the waste medicines RL design and execution, and it supports the current NHS agenda on medicine waste reduction (DoH, 2012). The recommendations made in the paper not only aim to reduce medicine waste, but also to use medicines effectively, placing the emphasis on improving health outcomes.
Publication titleSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
- Accepted version