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US could recycle 10 million unused prescription drugs a year, report says

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7677 (Published 15 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7677
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

Long term care facilities in the United States waste about $2bn (£1.28bn; €1.61bn) in unexpired medicines every year, a report by the public radio show Marketplace said on 10 December.1

Other estimates, which included all sources of wasted medicines, showed that as much as $5bn worth of unexpired prescription drugs in unopened blister packs, bottles, and vials are incinerated or flushed down the toilet each year.2

Nursing homes discard these drugs when patients are discharged or if their prescription is discontinued or changed, or if the patient dies. Institutions …

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