Some pharmacies run by the High Street chain Boots have been criticised for telling some patients on multiple drugs that they can no longer have blister pack boxes, known as dosette boxes or multi-compartment compliance aids (MCCAs).
Weekly pill organisers can help users keep track of their daily medication and stay safe. Pharmacists put the tablets into individual boxes in the trays, each one indicating when they should be taken.
The NHS says boxes are not always available for free on the NHS and they're not suitable for every type of medicine.
Tracey Hobbs' mother, Pat Garner, lives at home with care visits. For several years, she has had her MCCAs provided by her local Boots pharmacy. She takes more than 15 pills each day.
Tracey says she was phoned by Boots and told that from one month later her mother would receive all the drugs in the original packaging, rather than organised into morning and night doses for each day of the week.
Tracey told the BBC: "I pointed out that the blister packs were the only way we could know she had taken her medication at the right time. Handing seven individual boxes with different instructions on each one was totally unworkable and - quite frankly - dangerous".
A Boots spokesperson said: "The latest Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidance indicates that the use of multi-compartment compliance aids is not always the most appropriate option for patients that need support to take their medicines at the right dose and time."
"Pharmacists are speaking with patients who we provide with MCCAs to discuss whether it is the right way to support them, depending on their individual circumstances and clinical needs."
Prof Gill Livingston, an expert in elderly medicine at University College London, said she was concerned to hear that some patients and their families were being told the boxes were being scrapped.
She said: "Blister packs enable people with mild dementia or some memory problems to take their own medication and remain independent. They can check that they have taken it and they know they have taken the right thing, as it is already sorted out.
"Later on in dementia or with other disabilities, it enables paid carers and families to help them take their medication and remain in the community and remain as well as possible."
Source: BBC News, 21 June 2022