How To Donate your Unused / Leftover Medicines

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

Often times a person with a subscription either changes their subscription or reaches a point where the remainder of the subscription is no longer needed, or the person’s doctor says to stop taking the meds.  Many people in such a situation believe that it is a waste to have to simply discard such useful yet unneeded medicine.  No doctor or pharmacy can legally reuse such medicines, even unopened ones. The remedy and worthwhile thing to do is to donate the medicines. Several hospitals or medical groups will accept specific worthwhile, useful, un-expired, non-liquid medicines and pass them on to poor, needy medical facilities all around the world.  The meds need to be in the original container, properly covered as well.  An example of such an entity is the “Starfish Project “, which is based in New York City.  Another avenue to exploring for such entities other than by inquiring online is to check at a doctor’s office or hospital; either will very likely provide the donator several possible re-distributing entities to contact.  These entities often have an online site with information on what they will accept and what they cannot accept.  Some will allow the donator to print a label with shipping postage included to make the donation a free-mailing one.  That is very nice.  Of course, the donator can always supply the shipping cost his or herself.  Though none spoke specifically about it, with this being a donation and the receiving entity has a charitable tax exemption the donation may be tax deductible.  Check with a certified person who can advise a tax payer on this.

It is illegal to sell unused medicines, as it is known as drug dealing.  It is illegal to give the medicines to another person to take as all (?) prescriptions state that it is illegal to transfer the meds to another person.  But, these re-distribution entities are allowed to collect the worthwhile meds and send these donated meds to the foreign based facilities.  These entities will confirm that the meds donated are truly still useable, repackage the meds, and send them off to others unable to get such meds, regardless of the reason.

If one’s meds are liquid, or solid yet expired, or have no cover or are loose, any of which makes the meds unusable, disposing of the med properly was called out by many.  First point was to not flush the meds down the toilet and not down a sewer and the drug can possibly get back into groundwater.  Second point was to crush pills and tablets, then to mix liquids and crushed meds in with refuse such as litter or food waste.  Most trash and garbage is put into furnaces these days before used in dumps or land fill.

As another point to make, most re-distribution entities will also make use of other unused medical supplies and even old computers.  Try to donate first before simply discarding.  It only takes a little time to contact an entity that would appreciate anything that is going to be simply discarded.

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