Alexandria, Va. - May 11, 2011
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) commends NBC's Today Show for highlighting the need for proper medication storage and disposal in the segment, "What to Toss, What to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet" with Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
"Community pharmacists are the health care professionals advising patients before medications are used and stand ready to assist patients if their medications go unused or expired," said Robert J. Greenwood, RPh, NCPA President and Iowa pharmacy owner. "We highly encourage patients to talk with their community pharmacists about the best way to store and dispose of medicine no longer needed."
As Dr. Snyderman suggested, patients seeking a disposal option should consider contacting a local pharmacist. Over 1,300 community pharmacies nationwide are participating in the voluntary Dispose My Meds program (www.disposemymeds.org) , which offer take back programs for consumers to properly dispose of unused and unwanted drugs not recommended for flushing. There may be certain restrictions on what can be returned (in particular, the pharmacist cannot accept controlled substances for disposal), so patients should always check with their local pharmacist. Programs like Dispose My Meds also allow community pharmacists to promote proper adherence to the patient's prescription medication regimen.
Previous surveys including one by the Zero Waste Washington have found that nearly 3 out of 4 patients said that they would be willing to return medications to a pharmacy and 84 percent indicate a local pharmacy would be the most convenient location to dispose of unused or expired medicines (compared to going to a special collection event or local police dept). Programs like Dispose My Meds also allow community pharmacists to promote proper adherence to the patient's prescription medication regimen.
Kudos also to the Today Show and Dr. Snyderman for reminding viewers to store their medications safely. Patients can talk to their community pharmacists about safe ways to store their medication at home. A new campaign, Safeguard My Meds (www.safeguardmymeds.org), offers tools and resources to help keep medicines safe. For instance, patients should maintain a list of medicines in their home, keep them in a locked storage container in a cool, dry place, keep them out of the reach of children and pets, and never share their medicines with others.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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