Return old inhalers to 600 points in #GiveBack campaign

PETALING JAYA: With questions over how medicine waste can affect our environment, the private sector has stepped forward to help create awareness on the proper disposal of used medicine.

Over 600 collection points have been set up to collect used asthma inhalers and medicine blisters nationwide under the #GiveBack campaign.

According to a study, pressurised asthma inhalers are often discarded before they are completely empty. The inhalers contain propellants which are greenhouse gases that can contribute to global warming.

The #GiveBack campaign involves 10 private pharmacies, led by pharma giant GSK.

“Our campaign offers Malaysians a convenient way to dispose of their used inhalers and leftover medicine blister packs, lessening their impact on the environment,” said GSK Malaysia and Brunei vice-president and general manager Dr Jonathan Pan.

The waste collected will be processed by waste management partner, Cenviro, in an environmentally safe process.

Cenviro has treated and disposed of nearly 1,300 tonnes of medicine waste as of 2022.

It said the most commonly discarded were solid drugs.

“Medicine waste will be incinerated with the ashes disposed of in our secured vertical landfill,” the company said.

Malaysian Pharmacist Society president Amrahi Buang said the group lauded the #GiveBack effort as it could boost awareness on responsible medicine disposal.

Meanwhile, National Water Services Commission (SPAN) says a comprehensive study is needed to determine how much medicine waste is in our water sources.

Its chairman Charles Santiago said there had been no cases of medicine waste in water sources, but a study was still needed.

The former Klang MP said that generally the water supply was safe for drinking.

“Pollution that halted water treatment plant operations were mostly caused by industrial waste discharged by illegal industries.

“Water intake points of treatment plants are upstream,” he said in a statement to The Star.

Santiago said there were laws on medicine disposal in the country and the people needed to be educated on the correct practices.

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