Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

March 17, 2008                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CONTACTS: 

Craig Rieben,

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

 703 358-2225; craig_rieben@fws.gov

                           

 Kaelan Hollon,

Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America,

 202-835-3460; khollon@phrma.org

 

                            Sharon Corbitt, American Pharmacists Association

                             202-429-7558; scorbitt@aphanet.org

 

MEDICINE DISPOSAL PARTNERSHIP WILL ENCOURAGE PUBLIC TO

FLUSH LESS, CRUSH MORE

 

SAN DIEGO, CA – The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today signed a formal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to help protect the nation’s fish and aquatic resources from the improper disposal of medication. The campaign – dubbed “SMARxT DISPOSAL” – will inform people on how to safely dispose of medicines in the trash, and highlight the environmental threat posed from flushing medicines down the toilet.

 

“Trace amounts of chemical compounds often associated with medications have been increasingly detected in our waters, the very waters that support our nation’s fish and other wildlife,” said Gary Frazer, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “While uncertainty still exists about the impact of these chemicals, USFWS, PhRMA and the APhA recognize the value of getting in front of the issue by passing along a few easy steps: don’t flush those medicines, crush the medicines in a plastic bag, add coffee-grounds, sawdust or kitty-litter, seal the bag and put it in the trash. In other words, crush … don’t flush.”

 

The partnership was announced during APhA’s annual meeting held in San Diego, California, one of the largest gatherings of pharmacy professionals and health services providers in the country. 

 

 “Medications play a vital role in our society,” added Dr. John A. Gans, Executive Vice President and CEO of APhA. “Consumers – and pharmacists – should be aware that it is important to take that extra step to protect our families and our natural resources.”

 

Proper disposal of medicines is important to America's families.  PhRMA is very excited to be working on this initiative with the Fish and Wildlife Service and American Pharmacist Association that will educate all Americans on the safest way to dispose of unused medicines,” said Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.

 

APhA, PhRMA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:

 

  • DO NOT FLUSH unused medications or POUR them down a sink or drain.  Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment.  While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.
  • Dispose of Unused Medication in Household Trash.  When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:  
  • Pour medication in a sealable plastic bag.  If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), crush it or add water to dissolve it.
  • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat) to the plastic bag.
  • Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
  • Check for Approved State and Local Collection Programs.  In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy. 
  • Consult Your Pharmacist with any questions.

 

 

Visit the SMARxT Disposal website at: 

http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/

 

 

About The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit <www.fws.gov>.

 

About The American Pharmacists Association

 

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 63,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States.

 

About The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

 

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 $43 billion in 2006 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $55.2 billion in 2006.

 

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