November 16, 2020
Unused Medicine Donations in Australia and Overseas
If you’re like most people, you’ll have a box somewhere in the house full of medicines, some used more frequently than others, and some you might have never touched. Either way, it’s possible that if you’ve ever had an excess of any kind of medicine at home, it’s crossed your mind that it would be good to donate it, either locally or overseas.
While this is an altruistic gesture, unfortunately, it’s more complicated than it seems. Sending medicine overseas to developing countries can bring about more problems than solutions, with countries having to manage the logistics of processing and assessing huge quantities of medicines.
Either a country won’t have the medical needs for a particular type of medicine, the labels will be insufficient, or the efficacy of the medicine will be undetermined. The associated risks of these challenges can do more harm to a developing country than good.
Guidelines have been created by the Australian government to mitigate these risks, that means that any country in need must follow the protocol and formally apply for a donation of supplies.
As for local donations, the same risks apply as above, and it is much better to support local organisations who can manage medicine donations through official channels for locals in need.
If you would still like to support developing nations, there are many organisations, including the Red Cross, that can help meet the needs of locals on the ground.
And remember, any unused or unwanted medicine can be safely disposed of to your local pharmacy through the RUM Project.