Press Release

PhRMA Statement on Support of DEA National Take Back Day

PhRMA April 24, 2013

Washington, D.C. (September 23, 2010) — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) stands behind National Take Back Day, an effort spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that will allow patients to drop off expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs – which will be collected and destroyed by local law enforcement officials – at designated sites nationwide.

National Take Back Day takes place on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time and is free and anonymous.

"Some take back programs can miss the mark by failing to provide aggressive law enforcement oversight, or by attempting to create programs that don’t work with a community’s existing resources. The DEA’s National Take Back Day takes both of those concerns to heart, building on both the community resources and diversion prevention elements, as well as a strong educational component,” said Jeff Bond, Senior Vice President for State Government Affairs at PhRMA.

National Take Back Day combines necessary law enforcement oversight with educational and grassroots community advocacy to create a voluntary program that attempts to prevent prescription medicine diversion. Unlike unsupervised, unregulated take back programs, the DEA’s National Take Back Day offers consumers a voluntary program with guidance on handling unused and expired medications.

PhRMA partners with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the American Pharmacists Association on the SMARxT Disposal Program. This program informs people how to safely dispose of medicines in the trash, and notes the environmental risk posed by flushing medicines down the toilet. PhRMA recommends that all unused medicines, unless specified otherwise by the Food and Drug Administration, should be mixed with water; sealed in an opaque container safely secure from children, pets, and others; then discarded in household trash to be later incinerated or placed in a government approved solid waste landfill. Consumers may also take part in the DEA’s National Take Back Day as a way to safely dispose of medications in a way that prevents diversion or potential for abuse.

“America’s biopharmaceutical research companies have a long history of supporting partnerships like SMARxT Disposal and the DEA’s National Take Back Day that highlight consumer education about safe medication disposal,” said Bond. “Providing several voluntary options for safe disposal of unused and expired medications makes that process both environmentally conscious and easy to do.”

Both of these efforts are part of our long-standing goal to help prevent prescription drug abuse and misuse. PhRMA encourages patients to take their medicine as prescribed by their health care provider. Numerous studies have shown that when patients fail to take their medication as prescribed by their health care provider, this can lead to poor clinical outcomes, high health care costs, and lost productivity. If under a health care provider’s direction some prescriptions are not completely used, prompt and safe disposal of those unused medicines may reduce avoidable consequences and work towards ending prescription drug abuse.


DEA | website

SMARxT Disposal | website

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

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