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NCPA Encourages Patients to Dispose of Drugs Properly during Patient Safety Awareness Week

www.Disposemymeds.org Helps Patients Find Participating Pharmacies

Alexandria, Va. (March 9, 2011) – In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 6-12, 2011), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) encourages patients to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications (other than controlled substances) at a local independent community pharmacy as part of its Dispose My Meds™ program.  

More than four billion prescriptions are written annually in the U.S. and up to 40 percent of drugs dispensed outside of hospitals aren’t taken, generating some 200 million pounds of unused pharmaceuticals each year. Unused medications are a contributor to accidental poisonings and deaths, which has seen an 80 percent increase in the U.S. in a recent six-year period.   

Nearly 100 percent of patients in a recent NCPA survey, responded that they were satisfied with the Dispose My Meds program, many of whom had kept unwanted medications in their homes for years, even decades, while looking for a place for safe disposal. Some patients commented on how the Dispose My Meds program has helped them: 

"I am delighted to know there is a solution for outdated prescriptions and have been trying to get help in this area since 1966."

-- Houston, TX 

"I have been trying to find a place for 5 years to discard prescription meds. My mom's doctors are ALWAYS changing her dosages for her prescriptions, which leaves me with a stockpile of medications that need to be discarded. It has been said for years not to flush them down the toilet so we’ve been saving them until we could find a way to discard them safely. Last year I got so frustrated that I threw all her old medications in the trash that is picked up by the city. I thought I had no other choices; I threw out about 300 to 475 pills. It was frustrating because it’s a waste of money and horrible for the environment. I’m glad I can do something about it now."

-- Boston, MA 

The "Dispose My Meds" website helps consumers find participating pharmacies by city, state, or zip code to dispose of unused medications, excluding controlled substances, either with a postage-paid envelope or an onsite program where pharmaceuticals are collected and disposed of properly utilizing the Sharps Compliance TakeAway Environmental Return Systems™. Patients of any pharmacy are invited to visit www.DisposeMyMeds.org to find and contact a local pharmacy, which can safely dispose of non-controlled and over-the-counter medications in their original containers. To date, more than 1,200 independent community pharmacies participate in the Dispose My Meds program nationwide, with the help of Sharps Compliance Inc., and have helped patients safely dispose over 25,000 lbs. of unused or expired medications.  

"Pharmacists can help patients monitor what medications are taken, how they interact with other drugs, how effective they are, and what side-effects they might cause as a way to ensure maximum results" said Robert J. Greenwood, RPh, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Waterloo, IA. "During Patient Safety Awareness Week and anytime, we encourage patients to talk to their community pharmacists about medication safety and how to dispose of medications properly when they go unused or expire." 

Even a common medication like aspirin can be harmful if used long after it has expired. The chemical name for aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. Very old aspirin can break down into salicylic acid and thus cause irritation of the stomach. Salicylic acid is used topically for numerous skin conditions, including removing warts! 

"Sharps Compliance (NASDAQ:SMED) is thrilled to be partnering with the NCPA and its membership to address the problem pharmacists, patients and communities face with unused patient medication," said Claude A. Dance, Sharps Compliance Inc., Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing. "It also gives patients and pharmacists’ proactive adherence and counseling opportunities to ensure patients are taking the meds as prescribed by their physician as well as a way to safely discard their unused medications and keep our communities safer." 

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com. 

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Sharps Compliance (NASDAQ:SMED) is a leading provider of cost-effective management solutions for medical waste and unused patient pharmaceuticals generated outside the hospital and large healthcare setting.  The Company’s flagship product, the Sharps® Recovery System™ (formerly Sharps Disposal by Mail System®), is a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for the containment, transportation, treatment and tracking of medical waste generated outside the hospital and large health care facility setting.  

The Sharps TakeAway™ system is designed for individual consumers, retail or mail-order pharmacies, communities and facilities including assisted living, long-term care and correction operations to facilitate the proper disposal of unused dispensed medications.  Sharps Compliance (NASDAQ:SMED) serves self injectors, doctors, clinics, dentists, veterinarians, tattoo facilities, home healthcare, assisted living facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government agencies, pharmacies, and retail, commercial, and hospitality markets. www.sharpsinc.com 1-800-772-5657.