Greener Pharmacies = New Patients

By Kevin Schweers

Prescription drug disposal programs can produce new patients and a positive buzz for community pharmacies, while protecting the environment and reducing drug diversion. Two pharmacists and a pharmacy student advised their colleagues on setting up their own program at NCPA’s 111th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition.

Starting Nov. 2nd, 300+ Iowa community pharmacies will begin participating in the statewide TakeAway Environmental Return System. Iowa Pharmacy Association Executive Vice President & CEO Tom Temple, RPh, MS, described the program to convention-goers as a means to prevent pharmaceutical waste from contaminating water supplies or affecting wildlife. The state’s offering some seed money to start the program and most community pharmacies are expected to continue it after that funding runs out.

Cheri Garvin, RPh, of Virginia’s Leesburg Pharmacy has had great success with her medication disposal program. It’s generated community good will, new patients and publicity in The Washington Post and as winner of the town environmental award. For a good place to start, she recommended the toolkit NCPA compiled for its members.

Want to start smaller? Fifth-year St. Louis College of Pharmacy student, Jamie Bates, has some suggestions. After reading a related article in America’s Pharmacist, She organized a one-day disposal event at Michelle’s Pharmacy, Inc. of Carlinville, Ill. A handful of pharmacy employees and local volunteers collected about 70 pounds of non-controlled product.

To read how they did it, NCPA members can click here. Just look for the section marked 2009 Annual Convention CE Programming.

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