Walgreen Co. said its customers have helped keep more than 15,000 pounds of unused or expired medications out of landfills through its Safe Medication Disposal Program.


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Walgreens tallies results of Rx disposal program

April 25th, 2011

HOUSTON – Walgreen Co. said its customers have helped keep more than 15,000 pounds of unused or expired medications out of landfills through its Safe Medication Disposal Program.

The drug store chain said Monday that, working with Sharps Compliance Corp., it has provided thousands of Americans with an eco-friendly alternative for medication disposal since launching the program last September.

Through the initiative, Walgreens offers specially designed and U.S. Postal Service-approved envelopes that let customers place, seal and mail prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications they no longer use to a facility for proper treatment.

Customers can buy Safe Medication Disposal Program envelopes at any Walgreens for $3.99, and postage is included in the cost of the envelope. Once securely sealed, the envelope can be dropped into any U.S. Postal Service mailbox, where it will be sent to the Sharps Compliance facility for treatment. The envelopes are never opened, and licensed law enforcement personnel are onsite during processing to ensure safety and compliance, according to Walgreens.

"We are encouraged that many of our patients have taken advantage of this medication disposal opportunity," Richard Ashworth, vice president of pharmacy operations at Walgreens, said in a statement. "We've heard great feedback about this new program from those customers. In addition to the environmental benefits, it addresses a common safety concern in communities. Customers are pleased to have a solution that allows them to be environmentally responsible and keep medications out of unintended hands with convenience and ease."

Sharps Compliance estimates that each year over 200 million pounds of unused dispensed medications are disposed of improperly, accoridng to David Tusa, president and chief executive officer of the medical waste and unused medication management firm. "We congratulate Walgreens customers and hope awareness of this program continues to grow. Through this program, we're one step closer to addressing growing consumer concerns over responsibly and safely disposing of medications," he stated.

Other retail pharmacy operators offering Sharps' medication disposal envelopes include Rite Aid Corp., Kroger Co. and Winn-Dixie Stores. Sharps also works with the National Community Pharmacists Association for its Dispose My Meds program.

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