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Poor and Unsatisfactory Disposal of Expired and Unused Pharmaceuticals: A Global Issue

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Pharmaceuticals are beneficial to humankind and emerged as crucial arms to treat/manage multiple disease pathogenesis in the present era. In analogous, these medicines/ medical devices should be used cautiously as they possess a potential threat to induce multiple undesired effects that may be related to human health or the environment. Daunting effects may arise due to the improper disposal of unused/expired medicines. Hence, to minimize such harm, there should be adequate knowledge and practice among the population regarding the safe disposal of unused/expired medicines or related pharmaceutical devices. The lack of approved information regarding safe disposal of such substances may invite serious concerns like environmental pollution, which may induce immediate health hazards to the present population and upcoming future generations. There are numerous ways to dispose of, or manage the unused and expired pharmaceutical substances. Sharing the medicines among siblings, friends, and family members are never free from serious health risks. Storing the unused and expired medicines in the home increases the risk of intentional or accidental ingestion of such substances and may create a health emergency. Disposing medicines like household and municipal waste may lead to environmental pollution and harm to humans and animals. The present review finds the multiple unsafe ways of disposal of unutilized medications/tools. Furthermore, it also summarizes the disposal pattern of unutilized medications among the few developed and undeveloped nations.
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Keywords: Expired pharmaceuticals; health hazards; leftover medicines; outdated medicines; pharmaceutical pollution; unused medicines

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Safety publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on drug safety. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles in the field. Topics covered include: adverse effects of individual drugs and drug classes, management of adverse effects, pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology of new and existing drugs, post-marketing surveillance. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians involved in drug safety.
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