[Pharmwaste] Request to support and participate in a national pharmaceutical dialogue via PSI

Galvin, Dave Dave.Galvin at kingcounty.gov
Wed Nov 21 11:34:03 EST 2007

Greetings all of you wonderful people interested in the issue of waste


As one of the founders of this listserv, I want to make a special plea
at this time.  After years of sharing ideas, of learning through various
pilot collection projects, and of ever-increasing attention to the
subject, it is time for us to convene a national dialogue of key
stakeholders aimed at coming to agreement on a system for the safe
management of unused medicines.  Please go to this link and download a
copy of the Product Stewardship Institute's project prospectus:


[Note that web addresses that run over one line get disconnected; you
must re-connect the entire address before it will work in your browser.]


Then contact me (#s at the end of this message) or Scott Cassel or Susan
Frechette at PSI (#s in the above prospectus) and make a pledge to help
to sponsor this project so that we can finally launch it in early 2008.
If a few of our agencies or companies can commit to $5,000 or $10,000
contributions, the pooled sponsorship will allow us to move ahead.  Now
is the time to help get this important dialogue underway.  None of us
can solve this issue ourselves, but together we can work out a shared


As you all know, the issue of trace pharmaceuticals in the environment
has gained widescale attention in the last few years, as have the
related issues of prescription drug abuse, deaths from prescription
meds, accumulations of leftover, unused drugs at hospice and
long-term-care facilities, and unethical donations of unused
pharmaceuticals to overseas disaster relief efforts.  There are many
unanswered questions related to this complex issue, including the
quantities of meds that go unused, sources of pharmaceuticals to
wastewater systems, treatability with existing technology, treatment
options with new technology, environmental effects, etc.  One aspect
that we can move forward on in parallel with efforts to address these
and other questions is what to do with unused medicines -- to find an
alternative approach to the nearly universal, historical answer to
"crush and flush."  Many of us are not satisfied with the current
federal guidance to dispose of unused meds in the trash, disguised in
coffee grounds or pet poop. There is an ever-growing number of projects
and initiatives going on around the country to try out different models
for safe, secure collection of unused medicines, from one-day events to
in-pharmacy collection bins to mail-back options.  In order for these
state and local efforts to really be effective, we need more of a
national push to address this issue and its many complex pieces and to
get the right stakeholders at the table.


One initiative that I strongly support is the Product Stewardship
Institute's project to convene a national dialogue of key stakeholders
regarding unwanted or waste pharmaceuticals.  PSI is a very reputable
organization that has been convening these kinds of projects
successfully for years, on such tough topics as waste electronics,
left-over paint, thermostats, fluorescent lamps, and many others.  PSI
in known for its ability to facilitate complex stakeholder dialogues and
to fairly address all concerns as the convened groups work toward
specific, results-oriented agreements.  The recent agreement on
development of a national system for waste paint is a great example


7 ).

[Again note that the address might be split - if so, you'll need to
re-combine lines before using it to find this valuable link.]


PSI runs as a small non-profit, so every project needs its own financial
support.  This project is scoped at convening four national
multi-stakeholder meetings, as described in the prospectus.  The budget
is estimated at $100,000 for this effort, based on experience with
related national dialogues as mentioned above.  We are soliciting
funding to launch the dialogue phase of the project.  PSI has already
interviewed key stakeholders and conducted research, putting it together
into a Draft Action Plan that will be available in the next few weeks.
For the dialogue phase, we have commitments to date from Waste
Management Inc. for $10,000 and from the State of Minnesota for $5,000.
We are soliciting across a wide variety of stakeholders, including major
pharmaceutical manufacturers, retailers, law enforcement, health
interests, wastewater treatment agencies and all levels of government.
If each group contributes a relatively small sponsorship individually,
the sum will gain PSI sufficient support to run the project as scoped.
PSI has a proven track record and can deliver a national agreement on
this complex topic.


Local and state projects should continue in order to test different
models and learn from them.  Direct discussion with the Drug Enforcement
Administration should also continue in order to address the critical
regulatory hurdle to allow secure collection of unused controlled
substances.  In parallel, it is time to convene the national dialogue to
explore national-level agreement for managing unused pharmaceuticals.  I
hope that you agree and will be willing to help to get such a dialogue
started by contributing to the PSI project.  A contribution of $5,000 or
more (or whatever your business or agency can chip in at this time), in
conjunction with similar levels of support from a broad group of
interested entities, will allow PSI to get the project underway and
bring in other sponsors as the momentum builds.


Thank you for your consideration.  Please let me know if I can provide
any additional information.


-- Dave Galvin

   King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle, WA

   Board president, Product Stewardship Institute, Boston, MA




Dave Galvin o King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks o
130 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109-1658 o (w) 206-263-3085 o (fax)
206-263-3070 o dave.galvin at kingcounty.gov o Local Hazardous Waste
Management Program in King County o www.govlink.org/hazwaste/  


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