May 9, 2017
PEI pharmacists help residents safely destroy 6.8 tonnes
of household pharmaceutical and sharps waste
Ottawa –Pharmacists on Prince Edward Island helped residents safely destroy 4.2 tonnes of expired or unused medications and 2.6 tonnes of sharps -- needles, lancets and alike -- in 2016 in the province’s first full year of a medical pharmaceutical and sharps waste recovery effort developed and managed by the Health Product Stewardship Association (HPSA).
“Our aim is to help Canadians easily dispose of their unwanted medications and sharps rather than see these items flushed down the toilet or thrown into the garbage where they can damage the environment or endanger others,” said Ginette Vanasse, Executive Director of HPSA, which has been managing these types of programs in Canada for two decades.
In a recent survey, 89 per cent of Islanders contacted said they had medications in their home. Twenty-three per cent said they had medications they no longer needed or might not use. And, of those that said they had disposed of these medications, 83 per cent said they brought them to their local pharmacy.
“We understand people’s concern about keeping these medications around the house where they may be misused or endanger family members and pets.” Ms. Vanasse said.
HPSA’s recovery and disposal programs are available free of charge and taking advantage of them is as simple as dropping by to see your nearest pharmacist.
“Of those Islanders surveyed who used our programs last year, 98 per cent said they were satisfied with their overall experience,” said Ms. Vanasse. “This speaks volumes for the 47 pharmacists involved in Prince Edward Island. Their role and the trust they have earned with their customers is vital in helping Islanders deal with household pharmaceutical and sharps waste in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”
The Health Products Stewardship Association is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association responsible for the safe management and disposal of unwanted medications and sharps devices. In addition to Prince Edward Island, HPSA manages similar programs in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.