Pharmacy promotion supports sustainability efforts

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Throughout November all 35 pharmacies in the Mackellar electorate, NSW will take part in the Brown Bag Medicine Promotion.

Facilitated by local member Jason Falinski MP and well-known local pharmacist Warwick Plunkett AM, the Brown Bag Medicine Promotion is an initiative whereby pharmacies collect unwanted medicines from their patients and destroy them in an environmentally safe way.

The promotion will be used to raise awareness for the National Return of Unwanted Medicines (RUM) program that was established in 1997, which is available through all of the 5700 pharmacies throughout Australia – the RUM program sees 800 tonnes of returned and destroyed medicines each year.

However, as Mr Plunkett points out, the 800 tonnes of returned and destroyed medicines “still only accounts for about 20% of disposed medicines”.

He adds that the remainder of unused medicines end up in “landfill and our waterways”.

“Much still remains to be done in educating the public on the safe and convenient way to dispose of medicines through their community pharmacy,” says Mr Plunkett.

“I encourage everyone in the electorate to review their medicine cupboard and return back to the pharmacy all unwanted medicines for safe disposal, along with any current medicines needing more information and advice from the pharmacist.

“Pharmacists are medicine experts and are always available to provide advice on their actions, side effects and optimal use.”

Brown Bag Day

Brown Bag Day was first established in the USA approximately 40 years ago to raise the consumer awareness of the need to remove unwanted and outdated medicines from their medicine cupboard to prevent accidental misadventure and, return them for safe disposal back to their local pharmacy in the ubiquitous brown bag.

During November all pharmacies in the Mackellar region will distribute brown bags, encouraging the community to return any unwanted medicines, such as medicines that have expired or medicines that patients no longer require.

If successful, this form of promotion will be duplicated in many other electorates around NSW and Australia.