Report Released on Maine Pharmaceutical Mail-back Pilot Program

Though a grant awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the University of Maine’s Center on Aging has completed the first statewide mail-back pilot program for managing pharmaceutical waste from consumers. Studies show that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation’s waterbodies and that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. EPA is currently evaluating the potential risks associated with pharmaceuticals and personal care products on public health and aquatic life. The program included the use of mailers to return unused and unwanted medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, from households. Maine Care (Maine’s Medicaid program) established a limit for certain drugs on the quantity that can be filled with an initial prescription. This policy is targeted at reducing the supply and accumulation of unused medications and to prevent pollution. The Maine legislature also recognized the value of the take-back pilot and enacted legislation to continue the program for an additional two years. As part of the EPA grant, the University of Maine’s Center on Aging developed a handbook on the project and collected data on the type and amount of unused medications. The National Council on Patient Information and Education’s (NCPIE) is a Safe Medicine Disposal for ME program partner. Ray Bullman, NCPIE’s Executive Vice President, served on the project advisory team.
http://www.epa.gov/aging/RX-report-Exe-Sum/