Pharmaceutical company aims to staunch danger of unused medicine
Expired drugs are becoming a significant threat to the environment because of their chemical ingredients that can change and become hazardous if disposed improperly, especially into water and the earth, and a State-owned pharmaceutical company has called on the public to pay more attention to the issue.
On Aug 13, Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd, whose headquarters are in of Chinese households store common, over-the-counter and prescription drugs Guangzhou, Guangdong province, invited public health policy researchers and online drug retailers to an event in Beijing to announce new way to deal with the issue.
The company has been recycling expired drugs since 2004 by working with pharmacies throughout the country to provide people new drugs to replace the expired ones free of charge. Last year it became possible for people to search on the social media app WeChat for sites where expired drugs can be exchange for newones.
The program has reached more than 6,000 pharmacies and hospitals in hundreds of cities this year, and many online drug retailers, including Alijk.com, and Ehaoyao. have joined the program. That means expired drugs can be exchanged for new ones on the internet.
By scanning the QR-code on drug packages it is possible to find out the drugs’ manufacturing information, including the expiry date, and a website link for the online recycling program. Those sending expired drugs to certain addresses in accordance with directions from the website receive coupons and money in their online accounts covering the cost of newdrugs.
Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical says about 79 percent of Chinese households store common, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and more than 80 percent of them do not check them to replace expired ones regularly. More than 38 percent of the medicines are three years or more past their use-by date, the company says.
Since 2004 the company has recycled more than 1,200 tons of expired drugs that are worth millions of dollars, said Zhang Chunbo, deputy general manager of the company.
Liu Xiaoping, deputy secretarygeneral of the Price Association of Beijing, an advocate of market mechanisms, lauded the company’s efforts.
However, Zhang said one company’s recycling expired drugs is not enough, and the company hopes other firms and individuals will recognize the environmental and public health issues involved and take action.
of the medicines are three years or more past their use-by date, the Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical says