Drug Makers Sign Pact on Proper Disposal

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) signed a formal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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."

"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 chief executive officer of the association.

The groups say three small steps can make a difference:

1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications or POUR them down a sink or drain.
While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.

2. Dispose of Unused Medication in Household Trash. First, crush solids or dissolve with some water and add kitty litter, sawdust or coffee grounds; put into sealable plastic bag, and then put the bag and its contents into the trash. Remember to remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.

3. Check for Approved State and Local Collection Programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.

For more information, visit http://www.smarxtdisposal.net.

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