Leading Government and Advocacy Stakeholders Engage in Public Health Dialogue on Improving Disposal of Unused Medications
Drug Take-Back Network Launched by Product Stewardship Institute and King Pharmaceuticals
“As prescription drug abusers often obtain medications easily from the home of friends or family members, it is extremely important to address the safe and proper disposal of unused medication. King is committed to working together with leading stakeholders to come to a consensus on safe and effective drug disposal that will help to reduce the risk of drug abuse and environmental pollution in our communities,” said
In conjunction with this week’s meeting, PSI and King launched the Drug Take-Back Network that establishes a central resource for information on drug take-back impediments and existing programs to collect and dispose of unused medications in communities around the country. By promoting shared learning, the Drug Take-Back Network will advance strategies already underway to reduce drug abuse and accidental poisonings, and to improve water quality by offering consumers a safe option for disposing of their unused drugs.
“This week’s meeting was an important opportunity to discuss the challenges inhibiting drug disposal and to brainstorm how to change the current legal and regulatory landscape to safely and cost-effectively implement take-back programs on a national scale,” added
In addition to its leadership role with the Pharmaceuticals Dialogue Meeting, King recently commissioned Avalere Health, an advisory company focused on healthcare business strategy and public policy, to develop a white paper focused on the disposal of unused prescription drugs including opioids. The white paper, which was distributed to meeting participants, examines the current challenges facing drug disposal and the factors necessary to implement a successful disposal program that will reduce the incidence of drug abuse and diversion. The paper and other educational resources are available at www.takebacknetwork.com, the Web site for the newly established Drug Take-Back Network.
Proper disposal of unused prescription drugs has become an important public health concern as rates of prescription drug abuse and diversion have increased. According to a recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), teens have easy access to prescription medications – 19% feel prescription drugs are easier to obtain than beer, citing common sources as friends, classmates, parents or their own home’s medicine cabinet.(1) There is a lack of agreement on a recommended disposal method for unused pharmaceuticals. Federal guidelines suggest either take back or home garbage disposal for most medications, and flushing for a small number of controlled substances. By contrast, state agencies do not recommend flushing of any medications, and an increasing number of agencies promote the return of used medications at pharmacies or through a mail-back program. Meeting participants focused on reaching consensus about the implementation of sustainable programs to collect unused medications and efforts to increase public awareness about the issue.
Highlights from PSI’s second Pharmaceuticals Dialogue Meeting included agreement on the need for all stakeholders involved to move forward to:
- Increase public and health care provider education on the public health concerns regarding disposal of unused prescription drugs and the availability of disposal programs;
- Continue efforts with policymakers to address laws and regulations governing controlled substances that currently impede implementation of comprehensive drug take-back programs;
- Encourage EPA, FDA and ONDCP to revise the federal guidelines on drug disposal to discourage flushing of any drugs; and
- Convene a leadership summit to focus on reducing the amount of unused pharmaceuticals.
The Pharmaceuticals Dialogue Meeting was the second in PSI’s series of four national, multi-stakeholder dialogues on drug disposal issues. The first meeting was held in
About Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is a national environmental institute located in
About King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in
Download a copy of the Avalere Health white paper, Safe Disposal of Unused Controlled Substances: Current Challenges and Opportunities for Reform, at http://www.takebacknetwork.com/pdf/Safe_Disposal_of_Unused_Controlled_Substances.pdf
(1) National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at
SOURCE King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Product Stewardship Institute