July 5, 2020

Why Unwanted Medicine Shouldn’t be Donated

A common question that arises is why unwanted or expired medicine isn’t donated to developing or third-world countries. 

The World Health Organisation has developed a set of guidelines that must be met before donations can be sent overseas, including:

  • Correct packaging and labelling 
  • Quality assurance and shelf life
  • Information and management
  • Selection of drugs

In Australia, there are additional guidelines that have been developed to guide donations overseas to ensure the appropriate, good quality and essential medicines can be made available in times of need.

These guidelines ensure developing nations aren’t receiving poor quality or expired medicine, and also means that they aren’t burdened with the enormous task of sorting and managing additional potential waste. 

They are able to request specific medicines, which the Australian government manages per these guidelines. But for everyday medicines used by consumers in Australia, it’s simply not viable or safe to send any unwanted medicines overseas. 

That’s why it’s important to return your unwanted or expired medicine to your local pharmacy, where they will be securely transported to an EPA-approved incinerator for safe disposal. To find out more about which medicines can be returned, visit our FAQs.



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