[Pharmwaste] RE: Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA) Jennifer.Volkman at state.mn.us
Thu Jan 6 23:40:20 EST 2011

We have not run across any free return options here in MN for sharps. We did have a company that tried to pass legislation that would require sharps mfg's to provide free sharps collection containers, but there was nothing offered for disposal. That was no help since people just put them in empty detergent or similar bottles already. The container was not the problem. Diabetics produce maybe 90+% of the sharps and they are the ones calling me for disposal. Thank you for the info Burke, I will check out your link. Matt, I need your connections! This is good news!

I am not sure what you mean about not collecting sharps with pharms. They always come in with the pharms. For events, you can either turn them away or be set up to take them in separate containers. If you have to sort pharms from the permanent bins prior to disposal, you will find them in the mix. I like how LA has the sharps bin next to the pharm bins because at least people might separate them out. Depending on how the pharms and sharps are disposed, it either matters a lot, or not at all, to keep them segregated.

One of our HHW/CESQG programs takes in business generated pharms along with HH generated pharms during their quarterly events. They charge the businesses, but the cost is probably 75% less than it would be for the clinics or pharmacies to have a HW transporter come to their door. In MN this only works for HHW/CESQG facilities. We are encouraging the CESQG facilities to help out local pharmacies/clinics by taking in their pharm waste. Since there are a dozen or more of those facilities around the state, it is probably helping to keep it out of law enforcement based collection.

I did not mean to imply that LA County doesn't know what they are talking about, I am sure they do. The additional information helped to clarify that too. It is curious that their collection dwarfed others in the area and business pharms certainly could be the reason. I more wanted to point out that it doesn't seem to be a large problem or hurdle here in MN, but to expect it in the mix.

From: Lucy, Burke [Burke.Lucy at CalRecycle.ca.gov]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 5:33 PM
To: 'Matthew C. Mireles'; Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA); pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: RE: [Pharmwaste] RE: Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

Actually, most of the big-name pharmaceutical companies that produce self-injected drugs sent us plans (http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Sharps/Reporting/default.htm#Plans) describing what they do to help with the disposal of sharps in California as required by California law (Senate Bill 486).  Out of the 26 pharmaceutical companies, 10 provide free sharps containers to their patients.  Four companies (Abbot Labs, EMD Serono, Genentech, and Johnson & Johnson) provide full mailback solutions.  EISAI provides a self-retracting syringe (and is one of the 10 providing free sharps containers).  Genentech’s Pegasys product comes in pre-filled syringes, which include a needle guard.  Unfortunately, I believe the vast majority of sharps are generated by a growing number of diabetics and I haven’t seen any of the companies producing drugs for diabetics providing any kind of disposal solutions like those listed above.

For the pharmaceutical collection program in L.A. County (not the City), the total collection for the year was 13,500 lbs.  That’s a big amount but L.A. is a big County.  I’d have to compare the per capita numbers to really see how it sizes up to others but I do know when they started their program in 2009 they got a huge amount of pharmaceuticals that dwarfed any other jurisdictions in California.  You might assume that’s due to people hoarding their drugs waiting for that disposal opportunity but I believe the County also had a good reason to believe it was also due to inappropriate small business drops.


From: Matthew C. Mireles [mailto:mirelesmc at earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 3:13 PM
To: Volkman,Jennifer (MPCA); Lucy, Burke; pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: Re: [Pharmwaste] RE: Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

Jennifer, several if not all manufacturers of sharps (needles) have already set up a free consumer collection network through various disposal company.   Some are direct mail back in sharps-proof containers (already paid by manufacturers).  For more info, contact companies like BD and others.   Collection of unused and expired medicines should never include sharps, medical devices, or medical supplies.  This is one reason to do collection sample of what is being returned or collected.

good luck,

Matthew Mireles

-----Original Message-----
From: "Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA)"
Sent: Jan 6, 2011 3:47 PM
To: "Lucy, Burke" , "pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us"
Subject: [Pharmwaste] RE: Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

That is a problem for any permanent or event collection anywhere. I've seen it at both. I would put it at 2%. Maybe that is even high. I think most of our bins at Sheriff's offices are inside and that doesn't stop pharmacies or clinics from tipping in small amounts. How do you categorize a public health nurse that might bring in expired meds from a home they visit...Anyone starting a program will have to assume they will receive some business pharms, but I really think it is a minor issue.  We are going through the process of educating and licensing our pharmacies and clinics in MN for pharm waste generation. I don't know if that means we'll have more or less of them using that option.

The numbers from LA's pharm collection program (1,200 lbs in a year in LA?!!) don't seem to indicate much non-HH disposal. What do you other collectors think? Hennepin County collected more than that in a day at the "not so widely advertised" 9/25 event. I am in the process of gathering numbers from our sites, so I don't have a comparison yet, but I bet they each collected more than that. As with any kind of program anywhere, you'll have that small percentage of people that will take advantage, but that shouldn't be a deterrant from collecting.

The sharps numbers don't seem really high either. If a diabetic has to inject once a day, 60,000 needles = 164 people. Most clinics are set up for automatic sharp service. I really can't see them going through the extra effort to empty their bins and haul them somewhere. (but I tend toward naive) We encounter people here in MN who have saved up needles for as long as they've generated them while waiting for a better disposal option than the trash. Now I'm curious and will have to check with the HH Programs that collect sharps to see if they have numbers. I really like the idea of collecting both. But I prefer that the manufacturers set up and pay for it! Isn't it crazy, really, that law enforcement is paying for collection and disposal of sharps and pharms?

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Lucy, Burke [Burke.Lucy at CalRecycle.ca.gov]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 2:33 PM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: [Pharmwaste] Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop
Here’s one problem with law enforcement collecting drugs…

Sheriff's program gives drugs the drop

“…the program has proven so popular that it's forced sheriff's officials to outsource disposal to another department, and has prompted suspicions that medical clinics — not private residents for whom the program was intended — are taking advantage of the free service.  The Safe Drug Drop-Off program allows residents to anonymously dispose of drug-related waste in modified mailbox containers that stand outside 20 sheriff's department stations throughout the county…More than 13,500 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications were collected last year at the various stations…”

I think law enforcement stations tend to place their collection bins outside or in lobbies whereas other types of programs tend to keep them inside.  I’ve only heard of the problem of medical clinics potentially using the drop boxes from a few law enforcement program managers.

Mr. Burke Lucy
Integrated Waste Management Specialist
Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)
1001 I Street, PO Box 4025
Sacramento, CA 95812
Burke.Lucy at CalRecycle.ca.gov
916.341.6592 (recently changed)

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