A DAILY Echo-backed campaign aimed at reducing the multimillion pound costs of medicine waste has been hailed as “successful” by health chiefs.

Earlier last year, we revealed how up to £9m of vital NHS funds was being used unnecessarily because people were ordering medicines they simply don’t need and do not use.

In Southampton alone, £1m worth of medicines is wasted each year.

It all added up to a bitter pill for hard-pressed health bosses and that’s why the Daily Echo backed the launch of an awareness campaign.

After just 12 weeks of driving the message home, nearly half of those asked in a survey said they were more inclined to only order what they needed.

The figure of 44 per cent of the 4,000 people asked in the south central area was considered “successful” by health chiefs.

Linda Tait, programme manager at NHS South of England, said: “We were delighted with the support and enthusiasm this campaign received locally from professionals and patients, as well as the professional manner in which it was managed and delivered.”

Figures released in February showed how health bosses could have been using the £9m on 353 more nurses, 9,000 more treatment courses or 2,426 more hip replacements.

The money spent on costly medicines left perishing in bathroom cabinets or lurking at the bottom of handbags could also have been spent on 593 more treatment courses for breast cancer.

It was also revealed how the total cash being wasted was more like £20m when taking into account the rest of the south central area, which includes Berkshire West, Berkshire East, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.