Manitoba Medications Return Program Targets Expired, Unwanted Medicines

OTTAWA, July 25, 2017 /CNW/ - Most homes have them. They rest inconspicuously in a cluttered drawer. Or, hidden on a shelf behind your favorite cologne. Often, they are sheltered in the mirrored medicine cabinet as we floss. They are the expired or unused medications of aches and pains long forgotten.

In Manitoba, 87 percent of householders say they have medications in their home. Just under a quarter (24 per cent) confided they have unwanted or expired medications as well, according to a survey by the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA). Of those who disposed of their unwanted medications, 56 percent returned them to their community pharmacy.

This is encouraging news for the industry-funded HPSA, which has been managing the Manitoba Medications Return Program since 2011. It shows a 17 percent increase in usage of its 'Take Back' program since the start. However, 32 percent admitted that they still threw medications in the garbage and 11 percent reported that they disposed of them in a sink or toilet. This means more work needs to be done to keep these products out of landfills and local water sources.

"The service is free. It takes but a few minutes to put these medications into a bag before you go out shopping and dropping them off with your pharmacist," said Ginette Vanasse, HPSA's Executive Director. "It keeps them out of the hands of young children and curious pets or the temptation of adventurous teens; and doing this ensures these products are disposed of in a safe and environmentally-friendly way."

HPSA's Manitoba program comprises a network of 335 participating pharmacies in the province. Once received by the pharmacist, HPSA arranges for the collection and safe disposal of these unused or expired medications according to strict guidelines and regulations. Of those that use the service, 93 percent agreed it was a convenient option.

In 2016, 15 tonnes of expired or unused medications were collected and safely disposed of through the Manitoba Medications Return Program. The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association. It manages similar 'Take Back' programs in British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island


SOURCE Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA)

For further information: Ginette Vanasse, (613) 723-7282,,


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