How to Dispose Expired Medicine?


Medicine is a drug or any other preparation used for the treatment or prevention of diseases.

Over the past 120 years medicaments have been discovered to cure or relieve pain, but the abuse of those medications caused governments to pass laws and regulations that govern their prescription, since some of those medications were used as street drugs, which created many issues between the medical field and the social impact of such drugs.

for further reading:  Good medications-Bad behaviour 

In 1979, laws were set  to obligate drug manufacturers to stamp the expiration date on their products for the period at which full potency** and safety of the drug is ensured.

The expiration date of a drug is estimated by stability tests under good manufacture practices as determined by food and drug administration (FAD). However, many have debated the idea of including personal care products -cosmetics- in the process of adding an expired date label on them. And in turn, caused the FAD to set down regulations  abiding the manufacturers to print the expired dates on products labels. (see regulations)

Using a medication past its expiry date has been a point of contention for a while now since there are no solid evidence disclaiming its safety in most cases, but it has been reported that if this certain medication is used for a chronic condition like seizures or allergies, a new prescription is preferred to be used to ensure full potency and effect of the drug used.

for further reading: click here

How to dispose expired medications?

Many countries around the world provide drug take-back programs; back on 17th of October 2015, the Chamber  of pharmaceutical industries in Egypt launched a six months campaign, to collect fake and expired medicines from pharmacies nation-wide,  right after the Pharmacists Syndicate estimated the existence of EPG 600 million worth of counterfeit and expired drugs in the Egyptian market. And as another positive step, The Egyptian Drug Authority   has launched awareness campaigns and different medias to report counterfeiting  and also suggested many ways to store drug ideally.

If the take-back programs were not be available,  as a domestic user you can return the expired medications to the pharmacies or follow the following steps while discharging out-dated medicines, if no specific disposal instructions on the label are given:

  1. Mix medications (no crush to tablets or capsules) with distasteful substance as coffee grounds or dirt.
  2. Place the mixture in a container as sealed plastic bag.
  3. Throw it the trash can.
  4. Scratch out all personal info from the label on the container and throw it away.

Flushing drugs down the toilet is limited to only a number of harmful medications, thus for the prevention of accidental ingestion by pets or little children, those medications are listed and identified by The Food & Drug Administration (FAD). 


Finally, when it comes to medications, their usage and disposal must be performed, guided and governed correctly to avoid any misuse or accidental ingestion that may lead to sever complications to both us and our environment.