First, 800+ community pharmacies helped launch the “Dispose My Meds” prescription drug disposal program during Earth Week. Now, more local pharmacies are signing up and data is emerging on how much has been collected.
“It was fantastic. Great turnout,” Southrifty Drug’s Supervising Pharmacist/Owner Bob Grisnik told NCPA about his April 21st event, where 1,144 containers of unused or expired medicine were collected. “The whole story with pictures is on my website. We plan on another one in the fall and of course we want to do one every year now during Earth Week. The local village police department worked with us so we were able to also take back controlled meds, too. Thanks. You put together a great take back program.”
More recently, other pharmacies in Maryland, New York, Texas, Virginia and other states signed up.
“As members of the community, pharmacists are in a prime position to ensure the safe and proper handling of medications, from dispensing to disposal,” Alan Cohen, pharmacist and owner of The Family Drug Store in Monticello, N.Y. told the Times Record-Herald. “Unused or expired medications pose risks to our families, communities and the environment. We welcome all in the community to come and talk to our pharmacists about their prescriptions and how to store, use and dispose of them properly.”
A sampling of 44 pharmacies in 25 states found that they had collected nearly 3,000 prescriptions that collectively weighed just over 1,000 pounds. A separate survey of NCPA members found high satisfaction rates among both patients and participating pharmacists. The program helped pharmacists build on existing patient relationships and, for many, traffic into the store increased.
Nearly all pharmacists in the NCPA survey indicated that they would continue offering disposal on an on-going basis and that there was no other disposal option in their community. NCPA will continue the program and will develop additional pharmacy and promotional tools to help maintain momentum. The campaign also illustrates one of the many ways local pharmacies play a critical role in communities across the country.
Participating pharmacies can be found at www.disposemymeds.org. Since its launch, the Website has had more than 10,000 new visitors, resulting in 36,000+ page views. Read more from the San Antonio Express-News, The Frederick News-Post, and the Charlottesville, Va. NBC affiliate.
Meanwhile, in Washington, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) recently introduced The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act (S. 3397). NCPA is reviewing the bill and has previously articulated community pharmacy principles and met with Congress to guide policymakers in this area.