October 4, 2017

What to do if you are worried about the protection of your privacy

Many people are concerned about their privacy when it comes to medicines and where their information is stored. One of the most common questions Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) receives is “will my privacy be protected?”

The answer is to that is yes.

As part of their job requirement, pharmacists are required to preserve the confidentiality of all their patient’s information, especially when it comes to managing prescription medicines. Similarly, all unwanted and expired medicines returned to the pharmacy will be handled with complete attention to privacy.

Here are more details about the RUM medicine disposal process.

What happens after I return my medicines to the pharmacy?

Your unwanted and expired medicines are placed in the RUM bin which is always stored in a secure area of the pharmacy. The RUM bin is constantly supervised by a pharmacist on duty. Once the bin is full, contents will be incinerated by an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) accredited facility, ensuring that your unwanted medicine is disposed of correctly and in an environmentally friendly manner. Disposing medicines the right way also means they do not remain at home in your medicine cabinet. This can be incredibly dangerous, and lead to medicine mismanagement or accidental poisoning in the household.

What can I do if I am still concerned about my privacy?

  1. Remove your medicines from original packaging

Put the medicines in a safe but non-descriptive container to give to your pharmacist. This ensures that there are no labels with your name on them.

  1. Remove any personal information before returning your medicines

Removing prescription labels of any of your used and unwanted medicines can also further help protect your privacy.

  1. Cover the label on the packaging

Something as simple as covering your name with permanent marker eliminates the link between your name and the medication.

Great! I feel better about protecting my privacy. How do I dispose of my unwanted medicines?

Read your medicine labels, review expiry dates and consider whether you need all your medicines.

Remove any expired and unwanted medicines from your home and place them in a bag or container. If the medicine comes in a cardboard box, that can be recycled separately.

Return these expired and unwanted medicines to your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist will ensure they are put in a secure bin for safe and environmentally-friendly disposal.

To learn more about the RUM Project, visit

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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