NCPA Partners With Sharps Compliance to Help Community Pharmacies Promote Rx Disposal Programs During Earth Week

Alexandria, Va. - March 02, 2010

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Sharps Compliance Inc. today officially announced their partnership agreement to offer the association's member pharmacies discounted services for the Sharps TAKEAWAY Environmental Return System™. In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Earth Week (April 17-24), NCPA is launching this initiative to help advance three important objectives with regards to unused medications: ensure they are discarded in an environmentally friendly manner; prevent abuse or accidental misuse; and offer an additional business opportunity for community pharmacies. 

"This exciting partnership gives many community pharmacies an easier way to meet a growing patient demand for a safe and environmentally friendly way to safely discard unused medications," said Joseph H. Harmison, PD, NCPA President and pharmacy owner in Arlington, TX. "By using the Sharps TAKEAWAY Environmental Return System™ pharmacies can do well by doing good." 

"It's not every day that pharmacists can help achieve a cleaner environment and less prescription drug abuse among our youth while introducing new customers to their local community pharmacy," Harmison added. "Programs like this should be voluntary but I hope many pharmacies seize the opportunity to make the 40th Earth Day one that their communities will remember." 

The NCPA-Sharps partnership arises out of NCPA's Prescription Disposal Program that was launched last year. The initial version provided members with the tools to successfully design and market medication return programs, provided information about Board of Pharmacy regulations, and reinforced the Drug Enforcement Administration and other's guidelines restrictions on the return and transport of controlled substances without the direct involvement of law enforcement. 

Now NCPA members get nearly a 20% discount plus free shipping on the Sharps TAKEAWAY Environmental Return System™. Participating pharmacies can either offer their patients postage pre-paid envelopes or collect unused medicines in 10 or 20 gallon collection boxes in a secure location within the pharmacy. Once the envelope is used or the box is full it should be returned immediately via the US Postal Service or UPS, respectively, for disposal. In addition to the discount, participating pharmacies get free access to customizable flyers, counter cards, bag stuffers, and posters to promote their take back programs. 

"Sharps Compliance has built our business by listening to customers, understanding their needs or those of their patients, while developing solutions and services based upon that interchange," said Claude A. Dance, Sharps Compliance Inc., Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing. "We believe the Takeaway™ solutions will be a great asset for NCPA and its membership seeking to more efficiently and effectively address the problem pharmacists and communities face with unused patient medication. In addition, the Takeaway™ solutions assist with the interaction between patients and the pharmacists in increasing compliance and counseling opportunities and inevitably help to play a role in reducing the amount of medications which are not used as directed by physicians." 

NCPA has shared its plan and objectives with dozens of Boards of Pharmacy and the National Alliance of Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), among others, about pharmacies signing up for this program. Those inquiries generated support, because officials recognize the logic and value of using community pharmacies for such programs also enables direct, real-time pharmacists counseling of patients for unused medications. Most state pharmacy practice acts do not specifically address prescription medication take back programs for disposal. However, to help ensure compliance the following recommendations were given:

  • Determine that your participation complies with state pharmacy regulations.
  • No controlled substances should be returned.
  • The pharmacist should be directly involved to ensure that controlled substances are not being placed into the return box.
  • The medication take back box should not be freely accessible to pharmacy patrons.
NCPA members interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should either click on the "Prescription Disposal Program" table in the member's-only section of the NCPA Web site, or or call 703-683-8200. 

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Sharps Compliance is a provider of cost-effective disposal solutions for medical and pharmaceutical waste generated outside the hospital setting. The Company's flagship product, the Sharps Disposal by Mail System®, is a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution to dispose of medical waste such as hypodermic needles, lancets and any other medical device or objects. The Company also offers a number of products specifically designed for the home healthcare market and products for the safe disposal of unused pharmaceuticals, RxTakeAway™ Systems. Sharps is a leading proponent and participant in the development of public awareness and solutions for the safe disposal of needles, syringes and other sharps as well as unused pharmaceuticals in the community setting. To learn more go to www.sharpsinc.com.
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