ICHP Position Statement - Disposal of Unused and Expired Patient Home Medications and Supplies

The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP) supports the recommendations of the the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  regarding the handling of unused and/or expired patient home medications.

  1. Unused and expired medications generally should not be flushed down the toilet or poured down sink drains into local sanitary waste treatment systems (see exceptions in 2d below).
  2. Unused medications should be disposed of in a manner that protects children and pets from the potentially negative effects.  Until more formal systems can be put in place to handle the disposal of patients’ home medications, ICHP recommends that consumers:
a)    Talk to the pharmacist.  As the medication expert on the healthcare team, the pharmacist is available to provide guidance on how to properly dispose of unused medications.
b)    Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities.
the handling of unused and/or expired patient home medications.
c)    Remove and destroy all identifying personal information from the medication container.
d)    Follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations for flushing some medications down the toilet; the list can be found at:

ICHP also supports:

  1. Development of programs for safe medication disposal.
  2. Government entities assuming the responsibility for implementation and associated costs of safe medication disposal programs.
  3. Development of educational programs for health professionals and consumers on the proper handling and disposal of pharmaceuticals and associated supplies and materials, including contaminated hypodermic needles and syringes.

Revised 01/2018