Starting Monday, San Francisco residents will be able to dispose of unused medications for free at 16 independent pharmacies and 5 police stations throughout the city. The pharmaceuticals industry is paying $110,000 to fund the pilot program for the next 12-18 months. The program will accept all household medications, with the exception of controlled substances.
When consumers are not given convenient options for proper pharmaceutical waste disposal, many of them end up flushing the waste down the toilet or throwing it away to be landfilled. This improperly disposed pharmaceutical waste may end up in our water systems where it has been shown to negatively impact wildlife, and may potentially affect human health as well. Wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals.
The pharmaceutical industry is funding the pilot program after the city introduced an EPR ordinance that threatened to mandate producer-takeback of pharmaceuticals. The ordinance is now on hold, pending outcome of the pilot program.
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