Drug disposal: The other side of pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

Earth Day is April 22. So it’s as good a time as any to look at one aspect of community pharmacy that gets far less attention than such issues as managed care reimbursements or medication therapy management, but nonetheless is a key service provided by some pharmacists and a benefit to communities and the environment.

We’re talking about drug and syringe disposal. In anticipation of Earth Day 2012, the National Community Pharmacists Association is urging pharmacists "to demonstrate their role as a respected and knowledgeable resource on all aspects of medications, from dispensing to disposal."

How? By becoming a collection center for used syringes and old, expired or unused prescription medicines.

Each year, tons of unused or expired meds and millions of needles end up flushed into the water supply or deposited in landfills. Pharmacies that participate in such collection/disposal systems as NCPA’s Dispose My Meds program or the Sharps TakeAway Environmental Return System can keep that from happening while they forge stronger ties with patients.

In the two years since its launch, NCPA said, pharmacists participating in Dispose My Meds have collected some 70,000 lbs. of unused or expired noncontrolled medications.

That includes some pretty incredible catches. In Cohoes, N.Y., for instance, the son of a deceased former county employee brought $30,000 worth of unopened, unused medications into Marra’s Pharmacy, including pills, insulin, insulin strips and more than 50 boxes of nasal spray.

This is more than just a feel-good environmental initiative. By serving as a drop-off point for unused or expired meds and syringes, a retail or clinical pharmacy also can spur more pharmacist-to-patient interactions and anchor itself even more firmly within the web of community health providers.

“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 NCPA president and independent pharmacy owner Lonny Wilson. "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.”

If you’re a practicing pharmacist whose workplace serves as a drop-off site, please share your stories with us. What kind of unused or expired products are patients bringing in, and has the process led to a boost in store traffic or new patients?


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FDA requests more data for Baxter, Halozyme biotech treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Food and Drug Administration is requesting additional data from two drug makers for a treatment for immune system disorders.

Baxter and Halozyme said the FDA wanted more data to review their application for HyQ, a combination of immune globulin and recombinant human hyaluronidase.

The companies said they would work to develop studies to provide additional data to address the agency’s concerns.


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How consumers choose a primary pharmacy

BY Rob Eder

Given all the attention around the hotly contested Express Scripts-Medco merger, Drug Store News thought we’d ask our C2B consumer reporters, if all things were equal and every pharmacy accepted their insurance, what would be the most important factors in choosing a pharmacy? Ninety-four percent said location/convenience, followed by customer service (50%). That’s just a taste of what they told us.

1) If all pharmacies accepted your insurance or charged the same amount for your prescription, what would be the most important factor(s) when choosing a pharmacy?

 * Includes kindness of staff, knowledge of what I am getting and staff ability to answer questions.

2) How many pharmacies do you use to serve all of your prescription needs?

3) If you answered more than one pharmacy, why do you use multiple pharmacies?

4) What characteristics do you like most about your current pharmacy of choice?


 * Includes kindness of staff, knowledge of what I am getting and staff ability to answer questions
Other popular responses: knowledge of product, insurance coverage, online reorder, wide selection, well operated and rewards program.

5) What are the cons about your current pharmacy of choice?

Other popular responses: no drive-through, understaffed, lack of insurance coverage, untrusted brands, decor, long checkout lines and lack of privacy.

6) What over-the-counter categories do you expect to find in the store where you purchase your prescriptions?


Other popular responses: children’s, dental, toiletries, ear care, topical, analgesics and contraception.

7) Some pharmacies offer patients consultations with pharmacists. Does your pharmacy of choice offer consultations?

8) If yes, have you ever tried a pharmacist consultation?

9) If you have tried a consultation, who paid for it?

10) If your pharmacy did offer consultations, would you be interested in receiving this kind of service?

11) If your insurance did not cover consultations, would you be willing to pay out-of-pocket for a consultation?

12) Do you use Twitter or Facebook?

Drug Store News has partnered with Engage.Me to develop the DSN/C2B Mobile Insights series as a regular feature and premium content offering for users. Interested in utilizing DSN/Engage.Me field research capabilities for exclusive research on your company? Contact Rob Eder at [email protected].

This survey was conducted by Engagement Media Technologies using the Gevius mobile application and EMTech backend. The campaign had 170 participants — 42% male and 57% female. The breakdown of participant age range is: 18 to 25 years old (16%), 26 to 35 years old (30%), 36 to 45 years old (18%), 46 to 59 years old (23%), and 60 years old and up (12%).


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muqtada321 says:
Aug-09-2012 08:48 am

A good primary-care doctor someone to coordinate your health care, help choose your specialists, and be the first to diagnose just about any problem is the key to good medical treatment.

Nicolas says:
Apr-27-2012 02:12 am

In fact, the pharmacy that you choose should have a good sized inventory. Smaller inventory pharmacies often have now run out of drugs and this causes the patient to have to wait a day or two to get a prescription while they order it. Or you will have to go to another pharmacy that has your prescribed drug in stock. Actually, no pharmacy can guarantee that they will have your prescribed drug 100% of the time, but if they have a large inventory, the odds are pretty good that they will have it in stock.