Over the past three years, Dr Lorna Marie West, a Reach High post-doctoral scholar with the Medicines Use Research Group, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has conducted a considerable amount of research on medication wastage. Following on her initial doctoral work, she studied the topic from a variety of perspectives, contributing not only to scientific knowledge but also providing information which may be used for policy and planning purposes, both at a national and international level. Dr West has established herself as an expert in this field and contributed to the Department and the University, becoming a hub of expertise in relation to medication wastage.
Globally, increased importance is being given to medication wastage, and its contributory factors, due to its negative impact in terms of finances and sustainability of healthcare systems, as well as its negative impact on the environment. Dr West, therefore, sought to support the mitigation of medication wastage through post-doctoral research. During her post-doctoral, Dr West published four scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals, with another two papers currently under review, additionally one looking into the European perspective on medication wastage in preparation. She attended a number of international conferences, giving six oral presentations and presented two posters. Dr West also conducted a number of outreach programmes carried out with the aim of educating the general public about appropriate administration of medication, prevention of medication wastage and appropriate disposal of leftover medications, and also to disseminate Reach High study findings. These outreach programmes included twenty-two social and educational community events across Malta & Gozo, radio programmes and TVM news, Malta Café Scientifique and Science in the City. Dr West also conducted a seminar and workshop which was organised by Arthritis and Rheumatism Association Malta (ARAM) as part of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) which is organised annually by WasteServ. Through the latter initiative ARAM placed first in the 'Associations' Category and also a finalist in the 'Most Innovative Hazardous Waste Initiative' Category.
The programme of work is part-funded by the REACH HIGH Scholars Programme – Post Doctoral Grants. The grant is part-financed by the European Union, Operational Programme II – Cohesion Policy 2014 – 2020 'Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the well-being of society' – European Social Fund.
The research was conducted under the mentorship of Professor Maria Cordina.