NCPA Encourages Pharmacists to Promote Medication Expertise from Dispensing to Disposal



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Over 1,400 Community Pharmacies in Dispose My Meds Program Collect 70,000 Pounds of Unwanted Drugs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 5, 2012) – In anticipation of Earth Day 2012 (April 22nd), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) encourages community pharmacists to demonstrate their role as a respected and knowledgeable resource on all aspects of medications, from dispensing to disposal.

To assist pharmacists in conveying that message, NCPA continues to offer members its successful prescription disposal program, Dispose My Meds, for consumers. As part of the program, NCPA members receive nearly 20 percent in discounts with shipping included on the products from the Sharps TakeAway Environmental Return System, along with free customizable marketing materials and a listing on our companion consumer website, www.disposemymeds.org.

Launched in 2010, the NCPA Dispose My Meds program features over 1,400 independent community pharmacies nationwide at which consumers may be able to dispose of unused, non-controlled medications with postage-paid envelopes or participate in onsite programs where pharmaceuticals are collected and disposed of properly. To date, participating pharmacies have collected some 70,000 pounds of unused or expired non-controlled medications. Currently, controlled medications are prohibited from being returned through disposal programs such as Dispose My Meds. Participating pharmacies have noted increased foot traffic and conversion of new patients.

As seen in a recent news story by an Albany CBS 6 affiliate, participating pharmacies like Marra's Pharmacy in Cohoes, N.Y. have collected thousands of dollars in returned medication from mail order pharmacies. Marra's Pharmacy received $30,000 worth of unopened, unused medications recently brought in by the son of a former county employee who had passed away. The collection included pills, insulin, insulin strips and more than 50 boxes of nasal spray.

This example is consistent with a recent NCPA report entitled, "Waste Not, Want Not," that documents the problem of medication waste associated with mail order pharmacies. The presentation has been delivered before the U.S. Congress in multiple hearings.

"On Earth Day and every day, community pharmacies that voluntarily offer drug disposal services for their patients have an opportunity to build better relationships with patients as they discuss their medication needs," said Lonny Wilson, DPh, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Oklahoma City. "The face-to-face, patient-pharmacist interaction in a community pharmacy improves health outcomes and prevents the waste that is associated with 'auto-shipping' mail order programs."

As medication experts, pharmacists can help patients get the most benefit from their medicine. When patients stop in to dispose of their unused medications they can speak with their pharmacist about why they discontinued their medication. Community pharmacists are the most accessible health care provider and play a crucial role in improving adherence and serving as a key care contact as patients move through the health care system.

For more information or to get involved, pharmacists can visit www.ncpanet.org or www.disposemymeds.org.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM