May 9, 2017
For immediate release:
Ontario pharmacists help residents safely destroy 551 tonnes
of household pharmaceutical and sharps waste
Ottawa – Nearly 4,000 pharmacists throughout Ontario helped residents in the province safely destroy 273 tonnes of expired or unused medications and 278 tonnes of sharps -- needles, lancets and alike -- in 2016 in a growing 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 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.
“We understand people’s concern about keeping these medications and used sharps around the house where they may be misused or endanger family members and pets. Our recovery and disposal programs are free of charge to Ontario residents and taking advantage of them is as simple as dropping by to see your nearest pharmacist.”
And, Ontarians are getting the message. Seventy-four per cent of diabetic patients, for example, disposed of their used sharps through HPSA’s Ontario Sharps Collection Program, according to a recent survey by HPSA. Another 67 per cent of residents contacted took advantage of HPSA’s Ontario Medications Return Program to dispose of their unused or expired medications.
“Of those surveyed who used our programs last year, 90 per cent said they were satisfied with their overall experience,” said Ms. Vanasse. “This speaks volumes for the 3,752 pharmacists involved in Ontario. Their role and the trust they have earned with their customers is vital in helping Ontarians 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 Ontario, HPSA manages similar programs in British Columbia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.