FDA urges correct disposal of drugs to avoid pollution

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jan 26, 2014 - Page 3

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged people not to flush leftover medication down the toilet or pour it down the sink, as it might end up in the groundwater and contaminate the environment.

There are two ways to dispose of two different kinds of medication, the agency said.

For non-hazardous drugs such as those prescribed for the common cold or over-the-counter drugs, if unused, expired or quality-compromised, the following steps should be followed: The first step is to take the drugs out of their packaging and put them in a sealed bag.

Used tea leaves, coffee grounds or used tissue paper should then be added into the bag to make it appear less appetizing or less likely to be reused. The sealed bag should be added to the garbage to be collected by the trash truck.

Drugs that need to be disposed of in specific way, such as anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs, should be taken back to the hospital to be disposed of as medical waste, the agency said.

The agency added that medicines should be taken as prescribed to avoid unnecessary waste, and be stored properly by avoiding sun exposure, keeping them away from children, storing drugs for internal use and external use separately, keeping the insert and packaging with drug information and avoiding placing liquid medicine in the refrigerator unless instructed otherwise.