Dispose of Medicines Correctly and Prevent Them from Polluting the Environment

    Expert recommends disposing of drugs through a drug return program in communities, municipalities, universities or private collection centers

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    Did you know that when a medical treatment is finished, your containers should not go to the common garbage? Like leftover drugs or expired pills, the glass bottles, aluminum foil or cardboard boxes that wrap them must be disposed of properly.

    By improperly disposing of drugs, they could reach water sources and soils, where environmental bacteria could adapt, develop defense mechanisms and proliferate in the environment. This would lead to a decrease in effective treatment options to treat diseases caused by these bacteria.

    Environmental impact

    “We cannot ignore the environmental impact, since if the drugs are discarded through the pipeline, traces of them can eventually reach the environment and affect ecosystems. Likewise, if we dispose of them in the common garbage, they could be ingested by a person who does not require them and end up causing harm or being used for smuggling,” explained Gina Gutiérrez, Roche’s pharmacist and quality coordinator.

    According to the expert, the most advisable way to dispose of a medicine correctly is to find a return program; some of these already exist in some communities, municipalities and universities; as well as special private collection centers where people can take them and dispose of them in the best way.

    Importance of correct storage

    Gutiérrez explained that providing adequate storage for drugs is also important. “They should always be kept in a cool, dry place and away from direct light or sources of heat, following the recommended storage conditions, since there are medicines that may need to be stored in the refrigerator in cold conditions. In addition, it is important to keep them out of the reach of children, since they often find pills on the ground, in a purse or in a diaper bag, “he explained.

    He recommended keeping them as far as possible in their original container and with their label, to ensure that all the necessary information to make good use of it can always be at hand, such as the dose, recommended storage conditions, among others.

    “It is important to remember that the expiration dates of the medications must be verified, since in this way you can ensure that the product you are consuming is safe and effective. In addition, it is recommended to make an inventory, from time to time, of the available drugs to identify which ones should be discarded and which ones are in adequate condition ”, concluded the pharmacist.

    Resonance Costa Rica

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