The Star Online, December 31, 2016
PETALING JAYA: Patients should never dispose of unused or expired medicines down the sink or toilet as this could contaminate rivers and our drinking water supply, says the Health Ministry.
“The sewage plants cannot treat chemical waste and this can lead to contamination of rivers and our water supply.
“As such, patients should never dispose of medicines, whether unused or expired, down the sink or toilet, but return it to the government hospitals under the ministry’s Return Your Medicine Programme,” said the Health Ministry in a statement to the media yesterday.
It was reported that the Health Ministry has destroyed nearly RM2mil worth of expired or spoiled drugs and medicines over a two-year period from 2014.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that RM1.8mil worth of medicines were destroyed in 2014, equal to 0.075% of the ministry’s budget for that year.
It said that these were mainly medicines held in stock by the hospitals and clinics that were affected by the massive floods in the East Coast states that year.
The following year, medicine worth RM105,000 or 0.005% of the ministry’s budget were thrown out.
The Return Your Medicine Pro-gramme was introduced in 2010 so that patients can return their unused or excess medicine for safe disposal by the ministry.
At the moment, the Health Ministry noted that there was no definite plan to extend the programme to the private sector.