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Critical analysis of the regulations regarding the disposal of medication waste

Critical analysis of the regulations regarding the disposal of medication waste

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Member Since-29 Dec 2015


People's unused or expired medication is usually disposed of in regular garbage or the sewage system. In certain cases, it may be returned to public health. It is not yet possible to create legislation that regulates and directs the proper disposal of leftover medication. There is a clear regulation for solid waste from the health services. This article will discuss management models for disposing of medication waste, as well as the recommendations of relevant national and international legislation. The literature review helped to analyze the management structures for medication waste in international legislation, regulations regarding the environment, and national legislation for solid waste from the health services. It was possible to provide better information about the potential impacts on the environment and the public's well-being. This analysis allowed for the identification of alternatives to help in obtaining the most efficient disposal of medication.



The 20 Th century ended with a growing concern for environmental issues. This led to the development of alternative solutions that sought to balance economic development and conservation. This was particularly addressed by eco-development, or sustainable development (Milare 2005).


Sustainable production concerns are not just emotional or sterile. The ISO 14,000 series, which summarizes the various initiatives taken to address the issue, includes the international regulation that was drafted by the ISO International Organization for Standardization. Since 1947, this international organization with its headquarters in Geneva has been working within its corporate goals. It has developed norms for the quality assurance of industrial products over the past few years. These are the ISO 9,000 series. The ISO 14,000 series norms aim to protect, in an environment quality aspect, not just the products but also the production processes.

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm. It saw the participation of 113 nations. The creation of UNEP, the United Nations Environmental Program, and inquiries by third-world countries (led by Brazil) regarding the attitude of rich nations are notable outcomes of this conference (Junior and al. 2005).

Notable is also the importance of Law 6,151 of 1974. This deals with the National Development Plan (NDP) to be implemented from 1975 to 1979. It incorporates an environmental policy concern. Law 6,938, which was approved in 1981 and is the first milestone in environmental regulation, deals with the National Environmental Policy and its purposes, formulation, application mechanisms, and other provisions. It also institutes the National Environmental System.


The publication of Law 7,347 (of 1985), which deals with matters such as public civil lawsuits, is the second milestone. It transforms the environmental matter into a legal matter and provides procedural specific instruments to protect it.

The Federal Constitution of 1988 was the third milestone, which included the environmental issue.

Law 9,605, 1998, the fourth milestone, deals with administrative and legal sanctions resulting from activities and conduct that harm the environment. Also known as the "Environmental Crimes Law", it is the fourth milestone.

In the '60s after World War II, there is a real awareness about the need to use natural resources properly. This includes raw materials, energy, and water. These resources become more scarce and more costly. Environmental degradation begins to take place in many forms. For a society that refuses to listen to reality, new crises emerge, some of which are worse and more global. Over the fate of the planet, heavy clouds are building up. Both growth and inconsistency have a limit. The light of Stockholm was heard and it was then that the real change began. Since then, environmental awareness has grown and become more robust.

The result is Environmental Law. This is a collection of concepts and regulations that target human direct and indirect actions to the environment. It is a topic currently being discussed. Solid waste is a problem that affects all aspects of society, including techno-scientific, public management, and public health.


Society has taken a keen interest in monitoring residual pharmaceuticals in the natural environment. This is also a part of its responsibility for environmental conservation. This is because the medication may be a polluting agent to nature and public health if it is improperly or accidentally disposed of in the environment via the soil, water, and air.

The leftover medication, which results from the excessive medication being dispensed for treatment, free samples are given by pharmaceutical laboratories as publicity, and poor management of medication inventory by pharmacies and other public or private health establishments is another important aspect. There are two options for disposing of unused medication: reuse or dispose of.

In this context, the study's objective is to discuss management models for disposing of medication waste as well as the recommendations made in relevant national and international legislation.



This study was based on a qualitative documentary that was collected between June and October 2011. The indirect documentation and literature technique was used to gather data about the structure of solid waste management and major drugs. This technique was used to analyze qualitative information.

These keywords were the main ones: Dispose of medicines, health risks, and environmental contamination, solid waste products, national policies on solid waste, chemicals, and waste.



International experience in the disposal of medication waste

In the US, many pharmacies receive expired or unused medication. The annual cost of these medications is $2 billion, which exceeds the market value. The exaggerated use of medication is one reason for some of the costs (Eickhoff and others, 2009; Daughton 2003).

The North American regulation agency doesn't prohibit medication reuse and each state can have its regulations. 36 states allow some form of reuse, 17 allow resale, and 12 bans both.

There are many opinions on the use of medication. In some cases, it is impossible to know the conditions in which the medications were stored before they were used. In North Carolina, regulations dictate that controlled substances should be disposed of by incineration, through sewage systems, or taken to a pharmacy.

Canada is one country that has shown great concern about the management of waste. The EnviRX Program was created by the British Columbia pharmaceutical industry in 1996 to educate the consumer. The 1997 province government increased the Post-consumer Stewardship Program Regulation. This regulation allowed for the acceptance of all prescription and over-the-counter medications that had expired. It did not accept free samples.