Patients Report High Satisfaction with Dispose My Meds Program; 8,000 Pounds of Prescription Medication Properly Discarded

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - July 28, 2010


The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today reported on the first phase of the Dispose My Meds program that was launched in conjunction with Sharps Compliance Inc. during the 40th anniversary of Earth Week from April 17-24 and has since continued to grow.

“NCPA commends these local pharmacists for voluntarily providing this valuable community service to help keep prescription drugs out of our water and to limit the potential for abuse of these medications,” said Joseph H. Harmison, PD, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Arlington, TX.

NCPA and Sharps Compliance Inc. announced their partnership and launched the program earlier this year in order to address two pressing issues: environmental contamination and drug diversion. To date, the initiative has safely discarded approximately 8,000 pounds of unused prescription drugs – representing nearly 11,336,000 million doses if measured in a typical two-pill dose – the equivalent of one dose for every resident from a state the size of Ohio.

Patients were asked to complete a survey to provide some information about the medication they were disposing and feedback about the program. Survey respondents indicated that:

  • 98% of customers were satisfied with the Dispose My Meds program. In a theme echoed by many, one patient said, “I’ve got a number of old meds that I’ve been holding onto for quite awhile that I have been looking for a place to dispose of them.”
  • 70% of the pill containers turned in contained half or more of the prescribed amount.
  • 56% of the returned prescription drugs were expired.
  • Cardiovascular prescription drugs comprised the largest category of unused medication, representing 18% of returned products.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 patients identified their returned medications coming from mail order, even though mail order pharmacies account for only 6.6% of all prescriptions dispensed, excluding long-term care settings, according to IMS Health. Research has found that health plans requiring the use of mail order pharmacies (also known as mandatory mail order) create 3.3 times more waste than prescription drug plans that allow patients the freedom to purchase their prescription drugs at a community pharmacy.

NCPA also asked community pharmacists for their views of the program. Of pharmacists surveyed, 62% believed their relationship with patients had been enhanced as a result of the program. This is important because the U.S. wastes $290 billion every year on the inappropriate use of prescription drugs, according the New England Healthcare Institute. Pharmacists have the training to help mitigate this problem.

“Pharmacists place a premium on monitoring what prescription drugs are taken, how they interact with other drugs, how effective they are, and what side-effects they might cause as way to ensure patients are getting the maximum results,” said Harmison. “The Dispose My Meds program is another avenue to allow pharmacists to apply their clinical patient care skills and to promote proper adherence to the patient’s prescription medication regimen.”

Now, nearly 1,000 independent community pharmacies in 47 states are participating in the program. Participating pharmacies and more information can be found at


The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at

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