Expired drugs to be recycled

Medications that have expired or are otherwise unusable are being recycled at about 400 pharmacies in the prefectures of Thessaloniki and Kilkis as part of an initiative by the Thessaloniki Pharmacists’ Cooperative to protect the environment from dangerous substances. When these are thrown away with the garbage, they can pollute the soil and water table and pose risks to public health. Although there is a system for disposing of expired medications from pharmacies and hospitals, this is the first one designed to collect them from the public. Recycling bins have been placed in pharmacies, said Theodoros Konstantinidis, the cooperative’s general director. The cooperative collects the medications and ensures they are destroyed. «It will take time before people realize they can get rid of their unwanted medications without harming the environment,» said Konstantinidis. Giorgos Kioses, vice president of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Technology, proposes a nationwide collection program. The Panhellenic Union of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers has stated it would support such a system. Kioses believes that such a collection system would encourage people to use the medications more cautiously. «When people realize the volume of medications that are thrown out, they become more aware of the amount they buy and consume,» he said.