What do you do with bottles of unused medicine? This may be a question you have wondered about. Sometimes, people buy a lot of medication, but end up not taking it because they felt better after a few pills, or they have to change brands or dosage for more effective results. Either way, you may find yourself stuck with half empty and unused bottles of prescription and non-prescription medicine. If this is your situation, don’t throw it away!
Medication is very expensive and much needed by various people, especially those from low income neighborhoods. Why not donate your unused medicine? As long as it is not expired and it is in it’s original packaging and properly labeled, you can pass it on. Here’s what you can do and a list of some organizations that can help.
- Ask your doctor. Your doctor may be able to pass on the medication to his other patients who can otherwise not afford the medicine. This is especially useful if your doctor participates in outreach programs such as Doctors Without Borders.
- Support the Afya Foundation. This organization collects unused medication and ships it to the needy in Haiti and other African countries. Aside from medicine, they also collect medical devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs. Go to the website at afyafoundation.org to learn the details on how to go about a donation.
- The starfish project. This project organized by the New York Presbyterian Hospital collects unused antiretroviral medication to be given to the needy in Nigeria. If you live in the New York area, you may drop off your donations directly.
- Givemedicines.org. You may donate your unused medication to givemedicines.org. Givemedicines.org is an organization that collects unused medication to be donated to various non-government organizations (NGO) in India. The group can be contacted at 0950-301-2006. The organization is based in India, so you will need to ship your collection.
- Aid for Aids Medicine Recycling. Go to aidforaids.org to get more information on how to donate your unused medication. Aid for Aids International is located in New York City and can be contacted at 212-337-8043. The organization collects medication used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. The items are sent to Third World countries.
- Check your local state laws on medicine recycling programs. Laws and directives vary by state. In some states, individual persons cannot donate unused medication, such as in Iowa, Florida and Arizona. Some states have strict guidelines and require only unopened bottles of medication to be donated. You may read more on different laws from different states from the National Conference of State Legislatures at ncsl.org. Because of the strict laws in the United States about donating unused medication, most donations are collected and sent to other countries.
It’s difficult to donate the unused medication within the country
because of strict laws. However, there is a tremendous need to recycle
unused medication, to be passed on to the uninsured and needy. Try to
get legislation changed in your state, so unused medication doesn’t go
to waste. In the meantime, you can send it abroad where policies are
less strict but the need is great.