Why D My Medicine Prescription Given To Me In A Plastic Bag?

Boots and Lloyds pharmacies have some annoyed customers.

A lot of us are taking small steps to reduce our plastic consumption: opting for reusable bags for supermarket shopping, avoiding plastic-wrapped vegetables for loose veg, and ditching single-use coffee cups and water bottles.

But sometimes it’s impossible to avoid plastic – even, it turns out, when you’re picking up a prescription.

Angry Boots customers have told the BBC that they were “livid” to be given their medicine in plastic, rather than paper, prescription bags.

Nipitphon Na Chiangmai / EyeEm via Getty Images

Taking to Twitter, one person said they’d would now not shop their medicines with Boots due to the decision to dispense some prescriptions in plastic. Another claimed using plastic was a “cost cutting exercise” for the chain.

Another person pointed out that it’s not just Boots that dishes out medicines in plastic bags and said that Lloyds pharmacy, another leading chain, does too.

So why do they use plastic? Boots said in a statement that the majority of its prescriptions were given out in paper bags – but that some repeat prescriptions were handled and packed off site and were placed into sealed plastic bags by machines to avoid the medicines falling out of the bag during transit.

The company – which last year signed up to an industry pact to reduce plastic use – also said plastic was more durable. We asked whether the plastic bags were a new addition but the company didn’t confirm this.

HuffPost contacted Lloyds Pharmacy and the company said it had an automated system that assembled repeat prescriptions at a central location before they are returned to LloydsPharmacy stores for distribution. It said the bags were made from recycled material.

“The system is continually being evaluated and developed, for instance to assess any environmental impact...but our overriding concern is that of patient safety,” a spokesperson said. “Paper bags are used in our community pharmacies for all other prescriptions.”

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from Lloyds Pharmacy.