Out with the old (medications), in with the New Year!


Your medicine cabinet may contain unused or expired medications that can harm your family and the environment if not disposed of properly.

This New Year, the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and the Northern Environmental Action Team (NEAT) urge British Columbians to return old medications to their local pharmacy.

“The New Year is a great time to take a look in your medicine cabinet and double-check the expiry dates on your prescriptions,” said Don Cocar, president of the BCPhA. “It’s free for British Columbians to return unused or expired medications to pharmacies for safe and effective disposal.”

BC’s Medications Return Program covers all prescription drugs; over-the-counter medications including topical antibiotic and antifungal creams; and natural health products that are orally ingested, such as vitamins, minerals, traditional Chinese medicines, herbal products, probiotics and homeopathic medicines.

The best way to return your medications to the pharmacy is to either combine loose pills into a small bag, or black out your personal information on the original containers. More information on the program can be found at www.healthsteward.ca.

“Being able to responsibly dispose of medications gives residents a lot of peace of mind” says NEAT Program Coordinator, Karen Mason-Bennett. “We all know the dangers of ingesting too much medication or medication that is not prescribed for you. The concerns and effects are similar when it comes to disposal and wildlife. Ultimately, returning expired medications is about as easy as it gets!”

The BCPhA is a not-for-profit, voluntary association, representing almost 2,800 pharmacists and more than 800 pharmacies throughout British Columbia.

NEAT is a non-profit group dedicated to helping residents, schools, and businesses live a greener life in northeastern British Columbia. Primarily, NEAT provides environmental education, but also assists organizations and institutions develop strategic plans to reduce waste and conserve resources.