PhRMA Statement on Take-Back Programs

PhRMA Statement on Take-Back Programs
Washington, D.C. (March 14, 2012) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Senior Vice President Matthew Bennett issued the following statement today:
"PhRMA believes strongly that a secure and responsible disposal program must not create new avenues for diversion and must be coupled with a comprehensive consumer educational effort. All stakeholders must be involved in educating consumers on protection against diversion of controlled substances, appropriate use of medication and medication adherence, secure and responsible storage of prescription medicines, prompt and safe disposal of any unused medicines, and adequate recordkeeping and data collection efforts. America's biopharmaceutical research companies have a long history of supporting partnerships like SMARxT Disposal, America's Medicine Chest Challenge, and the DEA's National Take Back Day which incorporate these principles and highlight consumer education about safe medication disposal.
"The creation of additional take back programs, aside from the DEA's National Take Back Day and the American Medicine Chest Challenge, is unnecessary when the easiest, most acceptable way to rid the home of unused medicines is to dispose of them in household trash, per the FDA's instructions.
"PhRMA partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association on the SMARxT Disposal Program ( This program informs people how to safely dispose of medicines in the trash, to virtually eliminate any environmental risk posed from flushing medicines down the toilet. PhRMA recommends that all unused medicines, unless specified otherwise by the Food and Drug Administration, should be mixed with water, sealed in an opaque container safely secure from children, pets, and others, and discarded in household trash to be later incinerated or placed in a government approved solid waste landfill.
"Consumers may also take part in the DEA's National Take Back Day as a way to safely dispose of medications in a way that prevents diversion or potential for abuse. PhRMA has long supported National Take Back Day, to be held on Saturday, April 28, 2011. This program allows patients to drop off expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs – which will be collected and destroyed by local law enforcement officials – at designated sites nationwide. The program is secure, free and anonymous, and those interested in learning more can go to  or to find available community resources and participating locations.
"PhRMA recently supported the American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) (, a community-based public health initiative with law enforcement partnership designed to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The AMCC provided a nationwide day of disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medicine held in communities across the country.
"Consumer education can have significant impact in helping to inform the public and reducing the overall rates of prescription drug abuse, and PhRMA has developed three simple messages as part of our educational effort on this important issue: First, people should take mediation as prescribed by your physician or health care practitioner; Second, consumers should store medicines in a safe manner and should not share them; and finally, it's important to promptly dispose of any unused medicines in safe manner, such as through household trash or an appropriate take back program, as mentioned."

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.4 billion in 2010 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $67.4 billion in 2010.
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