We sell millions’ worth of medicines every year. I wonder, where do these medicines end up? How would my regular customers discard those just-in-case medicines which have expired?
There are over 2600 pharmacies, 8000 clinics, and 375 hospitals in Malaysia. All of which supply medicines that may end up in consumers’ medicine cabinets or drawers at home. As consumers, we may stock medicines “just in case”; we stop taking medicines when we feel better (which may not be necessary the right way).
Have you ever opened your medicine cabinet and discovered medicines there that you do not know why you had them, or perhaps they are expired? Most people have done this and then wondered what to do with these unwanted medicines.
There is a safe and straightforward solution close at hand–the Do It Right Project. It is essential to know that you should NOT put unwanted medicines into your rubbish bin or tip them down the drain or toilet as they may end up in our water supply and pollute the environment.
In 2021, we received 236 returns of unwanted medicine from the public, which is approximately 160kg.
We started with 20 selected CARiNG Pharmacy stores collaborating with Safe DUMP by the Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Malaya. Since 2020, our pharmacists have engaged actively with the local community to promote the importance of proper medicine disposal and provide a convenient collection point for these unwanted medicines.
This year, we decided to expand this service to all CARiNG Pharmacy stores. With the brand new tagline, Do It Right, we aimed to reach out to our community and highlight the importance of doing it right by first disposing of the medicines correctly!
You may well ask, why is it essential to remove any unwanted medicines from your home—perhaps you might need them again?
Over 10,205 people required hospitalisation because of medicine poisonings across Malaysia. Unwanted medicines in homes also pose a health hazard for children. It is a safety issue to keep medicines you no longer need.
Many of us know the right thing to do. Some might consider doing it later. The safety concerns are pressing, and we can no longer wait. If we want to leave a better world for our future and the next generation, we have to do it right!
The Do It Right Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.
By Mr Loo Jooi Leng, Marketing Director, CARiNG Pharmacy