Patients Nationwide to Learn Saturday About How to Dispose of Unwanted Prescription Drugs

Disposal Helps to Avoid Abuse and Misuse of Medicines

Nov 12, 2010, 18:15 ET from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients in cities all over the country will learn tomorrow about one of the best ways to avoid today's rampant prescription drug abuse – proper disposal of unused medicines.    

Through a program coordinated by the American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC), patients will be able to drop off expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs anonymously at designated locations in a number of towns and cities.  "By taking unused potent medicines out of their bathroom medicine cabinets, parents will be eliminating a temptation to abuse prescription drugs," said Sharon Brigner, a deputy vice president at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).  

"Prescription medicines enhance and save the lives of patients suffering a wide range of diseases and medical conditions.  But if they are misused and abused, people can suffer devastating consequences – even death.  Programs like AMCC are vitally important at a time when hospital admissions caused by abuse of powerful prescription pain killers have skyrocketed 400 percent in the last decade."

The AMCC is a national drug disposal public health initiative created by advocacy groups, community coalitions and private sponsors, including PhRMA, and coordinated with local and state governments.  Tomorrow has been designated the day for dropping off expired drugs at secure sites, learning the importance of using medicines exactly as prescribed and learning how to avoid prescription drug abuse.

Consumers can learn about the designated disposal sites in different towns and cities by visiting

"A community does not have to have disposal locations for its residents – the AMCC's recommendations emphasize that unwanted medicines can also be disposed of in the household trash at home," said Brigner.  "They can be placed in a sealed container and mixed with water, coffee grinds and/or kitty litter and thrown into the trash can for environmentally safe disposal.  We urge San Francisco residents to dispose of unwanted medicines so that the drugs will not be a temptation for abuse and because the AMCC approach is an environmentally responsible way to eliminate unused medicines."      

The AMCC advises those who have expired medications stored at home to:

  • Create an inventory of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Secure drugs in medicine cabinets or other safe places.  
  • Dispose of unwanted, unused and expired medicine in the home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge disposal site on Saturday.
  • Take all medicines exactly as prescribed by health care providers.  
  • Talk to children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
  • Avoid sharing medications.  

In addition to supporting the AMCC effort, PhRMA has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association to create the SMARxT Disposal Program (, which also explains how to properly and safely dispose of medicines.      

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $45.8 billion in 2009 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.3 billion in 2009.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America