Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany aims to staunch dan­ger of un­used medicine

China Daily (USA) - - REFLECT - By LIU ZHIHUA li­uzhi­hua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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

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