Tips for safely storing and disposing of expired, unused medicine
Most people would probably admit to having some out-of-date cold remedies in the cupboard and then there is the problem of unused medicine – prescription products that you never opened or didn’t finish. If you don’t keep on top of it, you can easily end up with unwanted medicines from a repeat prescription delivery service that should have been amended. It’s really important to make sure you have safe medication storage at home but how do you dispose of old medication and unused medicine that you no longer want or need?
You shouldn’t throw your old medicines away in the domestic rubbish or flush them down the toilet; there are safety implications and environmental considerations attached to both of these. Where can I dispose of old medication is a common enough question typed into the Google search bar but did you know that your local pharmacist can dispose of it for you?
Unfortunately, unsued in date medicines which have been prescribed for you cannot be recycled through the system as some sort of unused medication donation to help the NHS. These medicines cannot be reused and will be accepted for disposal only by your pharmacist.
How do pharmacies dispose of medications?
The pharmacy will sort the medicines into different categories – solids like ampules and vials, liquids and aerosols. Then the local NHS Improvement team will arrange for the medicines to be collected from the pharmacist by a specialist waste contractor at regular intervals and safely disposed of. It is far better to dispose of unwanted and unused medication in this safe and responsible way rather than just leave them in the cupboard or try to dispose of them yourself.