DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens announced Thursday it has launched the first ongoing, nationwide Safe Medication Disposal Program, a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unused or expired medications.
For $2.99, customers can purchase a specially designed envelope available at any Walgreens pharmacy counter that allows them to place, seal and mail prescription or over-the-counter medications they no longer use for safe, eco-friendly disposal. Controlled substances are excluded from this program due to current regulations. Postage is included in the cost of the envelope.
Once securely sealed, the envelope can be dropped into any U.S. Postal Service mailbox where it will be sent to an approved medication incinerator. There, a licensed law enforcement official is onsite as part of a quality control system to ensure no envelope is tampered with or opened. Envelopes remain sealed while incinerated. Ashes from the incinerated envelopes can be used for making “green” related building materials rather than going into a landfill.
Walgreens has participated in medication take-back events through local health departments and law enforcement agencies for many years. Walgreens.com also offers visitors U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines on safe disposal of medications when a collection or drug take-back program is not available.
Walgreens is working with Sharps Compliance Corp, a full-service provider of cost-effective management solutions for medical waste and unused dispensed medications, to offer this new service. The company estimates that more than 200 million pounds of unused dispensed medications are disposed of improperly each year.