Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste is any leftover, unused or expired medication that is being discarded. Patients and healthcare providers produce medication waste as patients recover from surgery or major illnesses and as patients manage chronic illness and other conditions.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), between 5% to 10% of all pharmaceutical waste is considered hazardous waste. If disposed of incorrectly, active pharmaceutical ingredients found in pharmaceutical waste can be released into the environment. In addition to the EPA, local states may have more regulations for their healthcare providers to abide by when disposing of pharmaceutical waste.