FEBRUARY 01, 2008

The first 6 months of the San Francisco?based Green Pharmacy Program has prevented 700 lb of unused and expired medicines from getting into Bay Area waters.

The Teleosis Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable medicine and a healthy environment, launched the program in an effort to reduce pharmaceutical pollution of the San Francisco waterways and increase public awareness about the environmental impact of discarded medications. The Green Pharmacy Program sponsors events promoting environmentally safe disposal of unwanted medications and has established community-based take-back sites where individuals can return unused medications.

The program is unique in that the site manager documents all returned medicines through the Unused & Expired Medicine Registry, which compiles national statistics on medicines returned and the reasons for disposal. After a statistically significant sample is documented, the data will be presented to pharmaceutical researchers, manufacturers, and governmental organizations to build take-back programs nationwide. Currently 12 pilot take-back sites are operating at Bay Area pharmacies, physician and dental offices, veterinary hospitals, health care facilities, and recycling events.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District, Save The Bay, Kaiser Permanente, Elephant Pharmacy, Pharmaca, Whole Foods, and the City of Berkeley have partnered with the Teleosis Institute for this program.