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Unused Medicines Can Do a World of Harm

We encourage the proper disposal of unused medicines. 

Actions to reduce improper disposal of expired or unwanted prescription and nonprescription medicines reduces the potential for diversion, improper use of medications, 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 the impact from all sources.

Through education and awareness programs, we work together with regulatory agencies, the broader healthcare community, and the public to better understand the potential impacts associated with the improper disposal of unused medicines.

In particular, we wish to:

  • Significantly reduce the potential for the release of active pharmaceutical ingredients to the environment

In an effort to manage unused medicines, we’re actively:

  • Partnering with other pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to support proper 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

US FDA Advice

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advice applies only to the disposal of medicines in the United States. Most drugs can be thrown in the household trash in the United States, but consumers should take certain precautions before tossing them out, according to the US FDA. A few drugs should be flushed down the toilet.

Explore additional resources:

Responsible Disposal AdvisorPfizer has teamed with Waste Management's PharmaEcology Services to provide US health care facilities (including but not limited to clinics, hospitals, physician's offices) with a searchable database containing important information for proper, lawful disposal of unused Pfizer products.