Why is the CRD promoting the Medications Return Program (MRP)?

Every year, thousands of kilograms of unused or expired medications find their way into landfills and the marine environment. Source control is the best way to keep pharmaceuticals from contaminating these environments. Between 2011 and 2012, BC saw an increase of 137% in medications being returned to pharmacies, which has been attributed to local governments promoting the Medications Return Program.

What medications are acceptable for disposal with the MRP?

Most acceptable medications are listed on the blue MRP bucket. These include but are not limited to prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products, and mineral and vitamin supplements. For questions about medications not included in the list, contact the Stericycle by phone at 1.604.552.101 ext. 203 or by fax at 1.604.552.9394.

Are cancer medications acceptable for disposal with the MRP?

Yes, all prescription drugs including cancer medications are acceptable for disposal with the MRP.

How are these medications eventually disposed of?

The collected medication is shipped to a licensed facility for incineration. Any bottles or boxes that have been deposited along with the medications are incinerated as well.

What should pharmacies do with the bottles or boxes that are returned with medication?

We recommend having the resident take away their medication packaging for recycling, or that bottles and/or boxes be recycled onsite if facilities exist. Otherwise, packaging that is dropped into the blue MRP bucket will be incinerated along with the medication.

For more information about recycling medicine bottles contact the BC Recycling Hotline at 1.800.667.4321.

**Note that liquid medications must be remain in a bottle when deposited; liquids should not be poured directly into the blue MRP bucket.

How can pharmacies protect the privacy of the individuals who are dropping off prescription medications?

Pharmacists can have the residents take away their own bottles for recycling or ensure the prescription details are blacked out before depositing the bottle into the blue MRP bucket.

Who do we call once the blue MRP bucket is full?

Stericycle handles the pickup and disposal of medications from participating pharmacies. Complete disposal information is listed on the side of the blue MRP bucket. Contact the Stericycle by phone at 1.604.552.101 ext. 203 or by fax at 1.604.552.9394

Who funds the Medications Returns Program?

The program is administered by the not-for-profit Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) (formally known as Post-Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association). The MRP is funded by brand-owners selling pharmaceuticals in British Columbia.

How should pharmacies dispose of their own expired medications?

The MRP is not intended to be used for disposal of expired stock from pharmacies. Expired stock medications should be returned to the supplier for disposal.

Medications Return Campaign

The CRD Medications Return Campaign was developed in cooperation with local industry representatives, British Columbia Pharmacy Association, British Columbian Ministry of Environment staff and the Health Products Stewardship Association.