Pharmacies take old pills
Patients are being urged to dispose of unwanted medicines safely and legally - not throwing them in the rubbish or flushing them down the toilet.
It is prohibited to throw medicines in landfills because of the risk to the environment, and throwing them down the toilet could result in a waterway contamination.
To avoid this, all pharmacies in Auckland offer a free collection and disposal service, called the Dispose of Unwanted Medicine Properly (DUMP) initiative.
Any unwanted and expired over-the-counter and prescription medicines, sharp items like needles and chemotherapy drugs are accepted.
The medicines are sterilised through autoclave technology and non-hazardous waste is then deeply buried in a lined landfill. Cytotoxic and radioactive waste is shipped to Australia for incineration.
Pharmacist and Northcross Pharmacy co-owner Darien Tait said patients should finish their medicines as prescribed or return the medicines to their pharmacy straightaway, if they have a reaction to them.
Storing prescription medicines for later use is a no-win, she said.
‘‘The worst thing they can do is give them to someone else.’’
The DUMP project is supported by Waitemata, Auckland and Counties Manukau District Health Boards, Auckland Council and International Waste Ltd.
Waitemata DHB funding and development manager for primary care Tim Wood said the project is all about improving patient safety.
‘‘Providing this service means patients and those living in their homes will be safer by reducing any risk of incorrectly using medicines,’’ Wood said.
Intern pharmacist Ma Celina Cura says Northcross Pharmacy accepts all sorts of unwanted medicines through the DUMP initiative.