The disposal of unwanted medications has been a concern in many countries, as pharmaceutical waste enters the ecosystem, ultimately having an effect on human health and environment. Earlier studies in Kuwait found that the method of disposal by the public was by disposing in the garbage or by flushing down the drain. In accordance with patient preference and environment safety, it would be appropriate to use local government pharmacies as collection points for proper disposal.
To determine the practice of pharmacists, working in government healthcare sectors, with regard to disposal of returned unwanted medications by the public. This study also aims to assess pharmacists’ awareness toward the impact of improper disposal on the environment and to investigate whether pharmacists agree to have their pharmacies as collection points for future take-back programs.
A random sample of 144 pharmacists from the six main governmental hospitals and 12 specialized polyclinics in Kuwait, completed a self-administered questionnaire about their practice of disposal, awareness and opinion on using pharmacies as collection points for proper disposal of UMs. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
A total of 144 pharmacists completed the survey. Throwing UMs in the trash was the main method of disposal by majority of the respondents (73%). Only 23 pharmacists disposed UMs according to the guidelines of Ministry of Health, Kuwait (MOH). However, about 82% are aware that improper disposal causes damage to the environment and 97% agree that it is their responsibility to protect the environment. About 86–88% of the pharmacists agree to have government hospital pharmacies and polyclinics as collection points for future take-back programs.
Even though the current practice of disposal by majority of pharmacists is inappropriate, they are aware of the damage and acknowledge their responsibilities toward environment protection. Concerned authorities should monitor and implement proper disposal guidelines in all pharmacies. Majority of pharmacists support the idea of having the government pharmacies as collection points for safe disposal of UMs in Kuwait.