Health Products Stewardship Association

Returning Unused and expired medications in | Pharmacists


In Quebec, it is important to return your expired medicines to the pharmacy and not throw them away in the garbage or in the toilets to avoid the environmental impacts. Indeed, according to a study by the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry of the University of Montreal, active antibiotic molecules as well as several other pharmaceutical and personal care products such as birth control pills, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory and hypertension drugs and other medication against cancer are discharged each year in the St. Lawrence River.

In addition, medicines kept in the home must be stored in safe places, as drug abuse has been documented in adolescents. According to the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ), 1 in 8 teenagers had used prescription drugs, 70% had taken them at home, and 84% of parents placed their medicines in accessible places to all.


What's included

All types of medications can be returned to the pharmacy including tablets, syrups and creams. In pharmacies, drugs are classified into different containers depending on whether they are cytotoxic (dangerous). opiates or non-hazardous drugs. The waste is then collected by an approved company for incineration at high temperature ensuring completely destruction.  

For more informatin on Returns



BC Medications Return Program Plan- Consultation Notice
April 17, 2019 The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) is conducting public consultations on the renewal of its Stewardship Plan for...


Note: Any of the following items that are unused, expired, in questionable condition, or missing labels

  • All Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications, oral dosage
  • Natural health products, oral dosage

Not Accepted

Please check with your pharmacist or household hazardous waste events for other products

  • Sharps, needles or syringes
  • Cosmetics
  • Empty pill bottles