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brockenspectre
8th Feb 2009, 12:39
Hi all

Over the past couple of years I have had to take a bunch of prescription drugs, mostly in pill form. It is about these that I am enquiring.

Pills in the UK are prescribed in specific amounts and generally come in either blister packs or sealed containers - just rarely, if an odd number have been prescribed, then a pharmacy kid-proof bottle will be used to make up the numbers needed vs numbers pre-packed by the pharmaceutical companies.

Several times my prescription has changed before I have finished all of the previous pills and a couple of times I reacted poorly to the medicine.

When this has happened, I have taken the excess pills back to the pharmacy for disposal, as recommended, but it was only yesterday that I learned that NONE of these pills - even those in untampered blister strips - get recycled. Without exception they are all destroyed.

The pharmacist said that it is too difficult to verify that pills haven't been tampered with by the customer, so no-one would want to risk passing on drugs that may have been substituted or otherwise messed with. He also added that there are so many counterfeit/fake drugs "out there" in the wider world that it would very hard to monitor or manage a scheme of recycling to benefit the developing world.

I was totally taken aback by this.

Are there any schemes for recycling prescription medicines or am I being too naive in thinking it possible?

Rwy in Sight
8th Feb 2009, 13:02
I am not sure about the UK but in other countries some charities collect and reuse those prescription drugs.

Whirlygig
8th Feb 2009, 13:20
Black market? A new career as a drug dealer?

Seriously, the pharmacist is right and for the same reasons, I doubt any charities would take them. Tried this when my Great Aunt died; she had a cabinet full (not joking here) of Coproxamal. She kept telling the murse not to bring anymore as she wasn't taking them because of their well-known side-effect but the nurse kept bringing them; every week for over a year.

Cheers

Whirls

tony draper
8th Feb 2009, 13:35
I remember when my Mother died I found boxes and boxes of unopened and recent perscription drugs of various kinds in her house ,didn't think I should just stick them in the bin so I took them to the Chemist were most of the prescriptions had been filled, the guy took them but told me they would all be destroyed? seemed a hell of a waste to me.
:uhoh:

OFSO
8th Feb 2009, 14:03
Having known over the years several doctors travelling to third-world countries, I have often given to them boxes of my wife's almost-expired asthma medication, such Ventolin or Prednisolone, to hand out to colleagues in the medical business. I've given up now as the drugs were usually siezed by customs on arrival, probably for resale.

It is tragic that with so many poor people in poor countries needing this stuff which we would happily donate, there is no certain way of getting it to them.

ArthurR
8th Feb 2009, 15:39
After my Father died of Cancer, Late 60's, I found a lot of Prescription drugs, I recycled them in the big white thing in the bathroom, flush them down the toilet.

airship
8th Feb 2009, 16:18
The pharmacist said that it is too difficult to verify that pills haven't been tampered with by the customer, so no-one would want to risk passing on drugs that may have been substituted or otherwise messed with. He also added that there are so many counterfeit/fake drugs "out there" in the wider world that it would very hard to monitor or manage a scheme of recycling to benefit the developing world. I believe that this might also be the average official response from the spokes-person of any average multi-billion $ / multi-national pharmaceutical company when posed the same question. It's not so much the fear that they're going to be taken to court by some African native who lives in a mud hut somewhere and then risks a billion $ lawsuit of over any liabilities from having their drugs distributed by 3rd parties. Rather, ever since Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ostensibly 'found charity', there is now 'real money' involved, and organisations that can afford to pay for 'market-priced' drugs...?! :uhoh:

Anyway, most of the drugs we're prescribed in the 1st world are for 1st world ills. I'm not sure of the real benefits of sending unused prescriptions of Prozac etc. to the 3rd world. I stand to be corrected though... :hmm:

PS. But what really bugs me is the 1st World belief that whatever we consider as waste products here, must nevertheless always be of some benefit to other less-fortunate populations elsewhere...?! :confused:

mixture
8th Feb 2009, 18:04
brockenspectre,

May I suggest you review the definition of the word "prescription"
AskOxford: prescription (http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/prescription?view=uk)

The legal and medical issues involved in "recycling" mean that it's common sense that it's pretty much a silly idea to even think about "recycling". Also, I think you would find anyone seeking to establish such a business would be hard pushed to convince an insurer to underwrite such an activity.

The correct course of action is to take it to your nearest pharmacy/hospital/doctor for correct disposal. Flushing down the toilet is not really a good idea due to the environmental impact.

mixture
8th Feb 2009, 18:13
There is also a fairly nice summary on this web page of the reason for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's position on the matter of recycling :

Medicines recycling (http://www.pharmj.com/Editorial/20070303/comment/lett04.html)

As inferred to in the above, the World Health Organisation also publish some guidelines

http://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/guidelines_for_drug_donations.pdf

However, if you are determined to recycle, I suggest you take a look at InterCare or Cyclamed.

Home | Intercare - Medical Aid for Africa (http://www.intercare.org.uk/)

CYCLAMED, le réflexe (http://www.unpf.org/cyclamed/)


(note that I'm not at all involved in the medical or pharmaceutical profession and therefore should state that any links given to recycling schemes are simply the result of a quick bit of internet research rather than anything I might know about either of the companies mentioned, therefore do your own homework as necessary).

ArthurR
8th Feb 2009, 18:25
Mixture you say " Flushing down the toilet is not really a good idea due to the environmental impact. " and what normally is flushed down the toilet is good for the enviroment?????.
I think your statement is normally flushed down the toilet.

mixture
8th Feb 2009, 18:27
ArthurR,

I think it can be inferred from contextual analysis that my wording was directed towards prescription medicines being flushed down the toilet.
:cool:

In terms of why I said that. (a) aquatic wildlife and (b) it's probably safe to assume that septic systems and sewage plants were not designed to deal with prescription drugs.

Mix.

G-CPTN
8th Feb 2009, 18:35
Pharmacies won't even re-use the bottles (glass or plastic) in which they dispense pills from bulk supplies. They will accept them back, but, even if you have thoroughly cleaned them and removed all traces of labels they still get binned . . .

ArthurR
8th Feb 2009, 19:26
Mixture
I think that the normal waste that is flushed down the toilet is far more harmful than any prescription drugs, which will infact be made harmless by being diluted in copious amounts of water, the filtration systems will then be more than able to filter any trace of what is left,and as for the aquatic life, the water is not introduced to them till after being filtered. I remember seeing a TV documentry some time back, where after the filtration process, the water went through a clear sided pipe where trout were kept, the purpose being if anything harmful had got through the system, then that would kill the trout, and the process could then be stopped before the water was re-introdced to the normal water system.

hellsbrink
8th Feb 2009, 23:32
Brokenspectre

Which drugs are they? You might be able to send them my way if they are the right ones and I know I'll put them to good use! :E:\

Metro man
8th Feb 2009, 23:37
The supply chain of drugs from manufacturer to patient is very tightly controlled for obvious good reasons.

Once a drug passes it's use by date all guarantees are off. Get a perscription filled in Boots and you can be sure it's genuine. A perscription is personal for someones specific complaint and takes into account their medical history and any allergies.

Imagine a doctor trying to sort through a load of old pills from who knows where, stored under who knows what conditions, not sure if they are genuine or the correct dose.

Other industries have strict supply chains, the water authorities don't allow households to have anything connected to the rising main which could allow household water to backflow in the event of negative pressure. Fuel companies won't take the contents of a cars tank and add it to the forecourts.

With drugs it's even more important.

vikingwill
9th Feb 2009, 01:14
I'm afraid recycling is just not possible: Good Manufacturing / Distribution Practice (GMP / GDP) and associated quality systems together with medicinal products legislation, and the requirment for product traceability throughout the entire product realization process and supply chain prevents recycling. Once the product has left a controlled supply chain, via dispensing to a patient or end user, GMP ends and no one can assure the integrity of the product thereafter. Wasteful, yes, but as a pharmacist, I can't ethically provide a medicinal product to a patient without being confident that it can meet it's intended use and safety requirments. For example there are many parameters that impact the quality of the product and its fitness for use: storage temperature, humidity, physical insult, microbial contamination, chemical contamination, cross infection via biological fluids etc. Would you really want to take a chance with your medicine when you have no idea how it has been stored?
Political point: I'm afraid that our welfare system encourages waste, because the majority (some 95%) of prescriptions are free to the end user, and this removes any financial incentive for patients to discuss prescribed quantities with their doctor.

vapilot2004
9th Feb 2009, 04:53
Mixture
I think that the normal waste that is flushed down the toilet is far more harmful than any prescription drugs, which will infact be made harmless by being diluted in copious amounts of water, the filtration systems will then be more than able to filter any trace of what is left,and as for the aquatic life, the water is not introduced to them till after being filtered. I remember seeing a TV documentry some time back, where after the filtration process, the water went through a clear sided pipe where trout were kept, the purpose being if anything harmful had got through the system, then that would kill the trout, and the process could then be stopped before the water was re-introdced to the normal water system.

These medicines do get into our water system. Traces of antibiotics, steriods and other drugs are found in numerous municipal water supplies regularly. These are very small concentrations.

brockenspectre
9th Feb 2009, 08:06
Hellsbrink - errrr unless you have parkinson's or chronic dodgy guts then I doubt you would appreciate what I handed back :E

angels
9th Feb 2009, 08:14
airship

PS. But what really bugs me is the 1st World belief that whatever we consider as waste products here, must nevertheless always be of some benefit to other less-fortunate populations elsewhere...?!

Why should someone thinking about others in a charitable way bug you??

MadsDad
9th Feb 2009, 09:43
And I don't know which medicine you are on, Brockie, but in MadsMums case the first meds (for Parkinsons) cause the requirement for the second. And actually the meds I take for diabetes have a somewhat similar effect, particularly on the gaseous emissions system. At least I have an excuse now and don't have to invent a random Elephant making loud trumpeting sounds that has somehow got into the house.

And thread creep but a bit of advice for anyone going abroad is to check if your prescription meds are legal where you are going. It appears that something MadsMum is prescribed is actually an illegal drug in Greece. We didn't know until after but if checked at customs we could have ended up nicked (both of us, since I was carrying spares for her in case anything happened to the stuff she was carrying. In fact we were carrying 3 sets of pills for the holiday - two weeks worth each in her hand luggage, in my hand luggage and in the checked bags. Made for a few questions at security).

hellsbrink
9th Feb 2009, 10:15
vapilot

You ain't kidding, you just have to see the reports of female hormones in the water (the levels are so high now the damned stuff won't come out of the tap unless you tell it it looks good) which have been causing male life in the river to change sex.

Brokenspectre

I'll take the dodgy gut ones.

Storminnorm
9th Feb 2009, 10:46
Ah well! That's my Mum's collection of prescription drugs
bound for the dustbin when she pops her clogs then!!
And I foolishly thought the Chemist would be pleased
to have them all back! WRONG again.

G-CPTN
9th Feb 2009, 10:53
Does anyone know what happens to medication returned to pharmacists?
Is there a proper collection/disposal scheme (maybe incineration such as is used for clinical waste)? Or do they just go to general landfill?

gingernut
9th Feb 2009, 11:43
Does anyone know what happens to medication returned to pharmacists?

We have a big party every full moon, and watch all the pretty colours-cosmic man.

No, I think they are burnt.


Re-using medicines isn't practical I'm afraid, for the reasons listed already.

The onus is on prescribers to ensure that patients are taking there medicines correctly. (Most don't:().

Skip0178
21st May 2017, 04:42
Where in the uk can i donate my unused medications for 3rd world countries? I have medz like gabapentin, asprin, and few others?

david1300
21st May 2017, 11:44
Skip, your meds are pretty strong - they have brought a thread back to life after 8 years :D:D

VP959
21st May 2017, 12:16
Strong indeed!

The answer given in this old thread still applies, there's no way to "re-cycle" unknown (in terms that they have been out of a controlled environment) medications. They should be returned to a pharmacy for destruction, to be on the safe side.

FWIW, I asked this same question a few weeks ago, when my medication changed. I took unopened packs of the previously prescribed pills back, in the hope they could be re-issued, as they were only a few weeks old, and was told they had to be destroyed, because once prescribed the safety audit trail was effectively broken.

angels
21st May 2017, 15:52
your meds are pretty strong - they have brought a thread back to life after 8 years

Oh dear!

and was told they had to be destroyed

VP959 has just killed the thread again! :eek:

ExXB
21st May 2017, 16:41
I've taken my excess 'meds' with me on my next Dr.s visit. They have always been happy to have them, and to pass them along to other patients. Even partially used blister packs.

When I moved to a CGM I took my blood sugar test strips back to the Doctor who was happy to pass them along to patients still using them.

Reuse first, then recycle.

Alsacienne
21st May 2017, 17:14
We used to have a scheme in France called Cyclamed where unused prescription meds could be handed in at any pharmacy to be recycled. That's long gone now. I just hand them in for safe disposal.

Blues&twos
21st May 2017, 21:10
I work in the pharmaceutical manufacture industry and we are controlled and regulated to the hilt, exactly as we should be. There's not a chance I would be taking meds which had been 'out of the loop' at any point.

Pontius Navigator
21st May 2017, 21:41
We used to have a scheme called drugs for Bosnia in the 90s. At the time any drugs were accepted. We collected buckets of the stuff from people's stocks usually after they had gone in to care. Often it was boxed sets of regular prescription drugs as a visit to the doctor had been part of their social calendar.

Initially we sorted into different drugs but then noticed that many were out of date.. second sort removed these and we took then to the pharmacy for destruction. In practice they would probably have still had some effectiveness and been better than none.

On not recycling through your chemist, I was prescribed pills by the doctor on a just in case basis. I didn't know what they were for and tried to take them back the next day. They accepted them for destruction. Apart from the risk of tampering, consider the package has been removed from a clean environment into one of unknown cleanliness and, by definition, infected.

PS

For developing countries and war torn ones, you might ask one of the NGOs however I found this:

Medicine waste recycling schemes collect unused packs of drugs with suitable expiry dates and send them to populations in need elsewhere in the world. This, however, is an area of ongoing debate and international agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) do not support medicine waste ‘recycling’ because of questions relating not only to safety but also appropriateness and cost effectiveness. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Code of Ethics precludes the reuse of returned medicines.

racedo
21st May 2017, 23:38
We used to have a scheme called drugs for Bosnia in the 90s..

CIA has a scheme like that........................ its called Cocaine for the US.

obgraham
22nd May 2017, 00:58
Spent the past 15 years going on medical trips to underdeveloped places. Originally we would take along recently expired drugs, such as doctors' samples. But now every country I'm aware of requires unexpired dates on any drugs brought in. Most of the time we buy the drugs in the destination country to avoid the fuss. (and yes, they are often expired!).

Loose rivets
22nd May 2017, 02:16
It is verboten to flush 'drugs' down UK sewer systems. Nor should they go into landfill. However, I'm too brain-fagged to look it up tonight.

I think any organization that will sort and send to a third world country is beyond worthy.


Brockie, years ago when my pal in Texas got Parkinsons, he went the curcumin route. After some months I wrote a serious thread in the medical section - Have I witnessed a miracle? Mack the Knife wrote to say how good my friend's write up on the subject had been, and that (unbeknown to my friend) some of the leading research was being done not ten miles from where my pal lived!

For a while he really did seem to be beating the odds, but later things were not so good. Much later, he went back to working in his machine shop and even playing the piano for a while - the span I witnessed was 6 to 8 years.

Very recently, I read that curcumin is indeed being taken seriously but that it HAS to be taken cooked presumably with food. The control tests were unequivocal on this difference and beyond encouraging.

The thing is that the latter method, with turmeric etc., are non-profit supplies. Well, more or less, so the motivation to promote is little or none.

RB

WingNut60
22nd May 2017, 03:15
brockenspectre,
...........Flushing down the toilet is not really a good idea due to the environmental impact.

Anything you flush down the toilet would be miniscule in proportion to the amount going down in the urine of legitimate (and non-legitimate) drug takers.

chevvron
22nd May 2017, 03:29
When I last went to The Gambia for a holiday back in '85, I came back with an address there to which I could send any unused prescription drugs. In those days I wasn't taking any so inevitably the address got lost but certainly they used to accept them gladly.
Like several others on here, when we cleared out mother - in - law's flat after she died, there was a large quantity of unopened/unused prescription drugs some of them antibiotics which I took to a pharmacist (2 carrier bags full) for disposal.

Pontius Navigator
22nd May 2017, 11:36
Loose Rivets, following an article and recipe in our paper I made some turmeric and cumin bread. It also had sunflower seeds.

The article omitted to give any serving suggestions, like good with soup or good with whatever. It was disgusting and the recipe joined the bread in the bin.

Loose rivets
22nd May 2017, 14:10
I think the original concept came from statistics on Alzheimer's - the differences between eastern nations and the West. It took years to filter out the genetic differences and this was done by samples of Europeanized Asian volunteers.

Then came the dopamine-producing neuron study. etc., etc. Many years


In haste

Rwy in Sight
22nd May 2017, 16:04
A TV/Radio here who runs a number of philanthropic schemes organize a medical reuse one in various part of the city every other week or so. They come on a church yard near where I live about once a year. So I plan ahead, put any prescription or over the counter drugs in a bag and deliver it there when I hear the announcement.