February 17, 2020

Which medicine can be returned, and to where?

The two most common questions we’re asked are:

  1. Which pharmacies accept unwanted medicines? 
  2. What kind of medicine can be returned?

In short, the answer is that most medicines, prescription or non-prescription, can be returned to any pharmacy – and it doesn’t need to be the pharmacy you originally obtained the medicine from.

So, what medicines can you return to your pharmacy?

Prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal or complementary supplements, gels, liquids, or topical creams can be returned to community pharmacy to be disposed of in the RUM bin. Any medicines that you might have had for your pets can also be returned to the pharmacy to be disposed of in the RUM bin. 

Can sharps be disposed of this way?

No, sharps or needles cannot be put in RUM bins. Talk to your pharmacist about the appropriate way to dispose of these items.

Should you bring the packaging with you?

No, all packaging (boxes, inserts) should be disposed of separately and recycled at home, as it is preferable for RUM bins to contain less waste and only the unwanted medicines for disposal. Note that you do not need to take the tablets out of the foil strips.

We urge you to check your medicine collection for any expired or unwanted medicine, take it out of its packaging, and return it to any local pharmacy. To find out more about specific medicines, including Epipens and Inhalers, visit our FAQs

The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.

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