Ontario 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 Ontario, 87 percent of householders say they have medications in their home. Just over a quarter (28 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, 67 percent returned them to their community pharmacy.

This is encouraging news for the industry-funded HPSA, which has been managing the Ontario Medications Return Program since 2013. It shows a nine-point increase in usage of its 'Take Back' program since the start. However, 24 percent admitted that they still threw medications in the garbage and eight percent reported 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 Ontario program employs a network of nearly 4,000 participating pharmacies across the province. Once given to 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, 94 percent agreed it was a convenient option.

In 2016, 278 tonnes of expired or unused medications were collected and safely disposed of through the Ontario Medications Return Program. The association also oversees the Ontario Sharps Collection Program for the return of medical sharps: needles, lancets and alike familiar to those managing chronic illnesses. The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association. It manages similar 'Take Back' programs in British Columbia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island



SOURCE Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA)

For further information: Reference: Ginette Vanasse, (613) 723-7282, gvanasse@healthsteward.ca


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