Increases in Improper Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste

The state of Wisconsin has determined that “take-back” programs for pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs have resulted in only two percent of unwanted and unused over the counter and prescription medications being collected for proper disposal. This latest news was recently released by a study conducted by the the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Product Stewardship Institute.

The research study showed that the ninety eight percent of medications not brought back for disposal are generally flushed down a toilet, garbage disposal, or sink drain, thrown in the trash for general disposal in landfills, or left in bathroom medicine cupboards well past the effective expiration date. All of these actions can create both environmental hazards to both land and water sources or cause danger to pets, animals, or other humans should the drugs be consumed accidentally or by confusing with other medication.

It is believed that close to one-third of over thirteen million pounds of all classifications of pharmaceutical drugs sold in Wisconsin annually becomes unused and therefore must be properly disposed of. While many municipalities throughout the state have launched different kinds of voluntary drug collection programs, all of the programs face problems such as cost to administer and increasing public knowledge of the importance of disposing of their medications in a safe and proper manner.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you or your business works with medical and pharmaceutical waste, what opportunities exist or can be created to collect the millions of pounds of unwanted and unused medications? The person who comes up with a cost-effective solution will become one wealthy person!