Information for the Pharmacist
Responsible environmental practices encompass the management of pharmaceuticals as well as other materials. The focus of this program is pharmaceuticals, however pharmacists are encouraged to implement effective environmental policies and procedures for all aspects of purchasing and waste management.
Resources available to assist pharmacists in practicing in an environmentally responsible manner are found in the literature and resources available from a number of provincial pharmacy associations and from the pharmaceutical industry. These sources stress the importance of optimal drug utilization and of educating patients about the use of their medications in order to decrease the risk of drug misadventure and ultimately to prevent waste.
Pharmacists are in an ideal position to assess and act on the individual patient's reasons for returning medication and to assist in the safe disposal of unwanted drugs. Waste should be prevented wherever possible, through trial prescription programs, dispensing of smaller quantities, and education of patients.
Although there appears to be little financial incentive for patients to return unused medicines, or for pharmacists to dispose of these materials appropriately, pharmacists who are known to practice in an environmentally responsible manner are seen as community-minded, and may benefit from enhanced loyalty from the public.