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Review
, 38 (3), 90-2

Safe Disposal of Prescribed Medicines

Affiliations
Review

Safe Disposal of Prescribed Medicines

Phillip J Bergen et al. Aust Prescr.

Abstract

The National Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines Program provides a free and safe method for the disposal of unwanted and expired medicines. This stops drugs being dumped in landfill and waterways. An audit showed that over 600 tonnes of medicines are returned through the program. A substantial proportion of these medicines were still within their expiry dates. Salbutamol, insulin and frusemide are the most commonly discarded medicines. More than $2 million of public money is wasted each year. Hoarding and non-adherence to treatment contribute to waste. Health professionals may be able to help minimise waste by informing patients about the importance of completing prescribed courses of treatment, and discouraging them from hoarding medicines after reaching the safety net threshold on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Prescribe no more than the required quantity of medicines. When starting a new therapy, prescribe a minimal quantity in case the drug is unsuitable for the patient. Advise patients to return all unwanted medicines to a pharmacy for disposal.

Keywords: Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; Return Unwanted Medicines; expiry date.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: none declared

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