New programs have been launched for medication and medical sharps collection
It’s now much easier to dispose of used needles and prescription medication in P.E.I.
Companies that manufacture sharps, such as needles, and prescription medication will now be paying to supply Island pharmacies and households with new and improved disposal containers and to transport those containers to the proper sites.
A national organization called the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) launched two programs in June – the Island Medications Return Program and Island Sharps Collection Program. HPSA is funded by the health products industries. Its collection programs include prescription drugs, natural health products, over-the-counter medications and sharps waste generated by the public.
The goal is to prevent medications and sharps from being placed in waste or recycle bins or being flushed down the toilet.
Chris McKenna, president of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, said 80 per cent of Island pharmacies have signed up for the new stewardship program.
The other 20 per cent are still using the old containers so lack of space for additional containers is likely an issue, McKenna said. Under the new program, pharmacies are given a new larger pale which is clearly labeled while the public can also pick up a new home storage container that is similar in size to the green kitchen compost bin supplied by Island Waste Management Corporation.
Islanders can pick up and drop off free sharps collection containers at any one of the 37 participating pharmacies across the province. For all medication returns, all pills should be emptied into a bag or container and liquids, creams and inhalers should be kept in their original packaging and returned to a participating pharmacy.
Ginette Vanasse, executive director of HPSA, says P.E.I. is the second province in Canada to implement such a program. Ontario also has one. HPSA has been working with other provinces for the past five years on the regulatory process involved with implementing the programs.
“The funding is now covered by the industry,’’ Vanasse said Wednesday. “From the public point of view, it’s seamless. They will only see a difference with the containers used for sharps.’’
Gerry Moore, chief executive officer with IWMC, is happy action is being taken to reduce what goes into the waste and compost bins.
“The biggest issue with sharps is that we don’t want to see them generated in the waste stream,’’ Moore said. “With the nature of the compaction trucks, we don’t want sharps flying around piercing employees or any innocent bystanders passing the truck when the compactor is (activated). We want to see people take them into pharmacies to have them disposed of properly.’’
Chris McKenna, president of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, says new disposal containers are out now to handle sharps, such as needles, and prescription medication in P.E.I. Island pharmacies will receive the large pail while Islanders can pick up the smaller Take It Back container for household use. A national organization will handle all the costs so the containers are free.