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Pfizer encourages proper disposal of unused medicines. Actions to reduce improper disposal of expired or unwanted prescription and non-prescription medicines lessens the potential for diversion, reduces the potential for improper use of medication, and helps protect our water. Although studies have indicated that only a small portion of medicines enter the environment through waste disposal, it is important to consider impact from all sources. Through education and awareness programs, Pfizer works with regulatory agencies, the broader health care community and the public to better understand the potential impacts associated with the improper disposal of unused medicines.
In particular, we aim to:
- Significantly reduce the potential for the release of active pharmaceutical ingredients to the environment.
Notable actions we undertake in managing unused medicines include:
- Partnering with other pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to support unused medicine disposal.
- Supporting voluntary, community collection programs involving law enforcement.
- Educating patients and families on proper disposal and methods to securing medicines.
- Supporting patient advocacy organizations that address abuse concerns associated with unused medicines.
U.S. FDA Advice
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advice applies only to the disposal of medicines in the USA. Most drugs can be thrown in the household trash in the US, but consumers should take certain precautions before tossing them out, according to the U.S. FDA. A few drugs should be flushed down the toilet.
Explore additional resources:
- FDA: How to Dispose of Unused Medicines - watch the video, download the guide.
- DEA: "Got Drugs" - drug disposal program under the US Secure & Responsible Disposal Act
To assist institutional facilities in properly disposing of unused medicine, the Pfizer Product Stewardship Initiative is providing an online resource containing recommended disposal practices in the United States for all Pfizer products. The site is available to health care facilities and providers.
- Go to the Pfizer Responsible Disposal Advisor Site (log-in Required)