Only 3% of the pharmacies and other entities eligible to maintain a prescription drug disposal bin for the public volunteer to do so, according to a new GAO report. A 2010 federal law permitted eligible entities, or those already approved by DEA to handle controlled substances, to voluntarily collect unused prescription drugs for disposal in an effort to reduce potential misuse by providing secure and convenient ways for people to dispose of their unused medications. Yet analysis of DEA data shows that as of April 2017, just 2.49% of the 89,550 eligible entities had registered with DEA to use disposal bins to collect unused prescription drugs. Approximately 81% of the authorized collectors were pharmacies, followed by hospitals or clinics. Stakeholders suggested that because participation is voluntary, the cost of buying and installing a disposal bin and paying for the destruction of its contents may contribute to low participation rates among eligible entities. DEA said the availability of disposal by law enforcement agencies may also affect participation.
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