News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 22, 2018

PROVINCE RENEWS COMMITMENT TO MANITOBA MEDICATIONS RETURN PROGRAM

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Partnership an Important Step in Protecting Environment and Educating Manitobans: Ministers

The Manitoba government has renewed a partnership to collect and safely dispose of unused or expired medication, Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“We all have a role to play in protecting our environment, so we need to be sure the medicine that’s supposed to make us better doesn’t end up making the environment sick,” said Squires. “Unused medicine needs to be disposed of properly and can be harmful to the environment if it’s thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet.”

In Manitoba, designated materials are handled with a responsibility-based model, operated by not-for-profit producer responsibility organizations (PROs). Manitoba has strong partnerships with 12 PROs, including the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA). Manitoba has agreed to a five-year renewal with the HPSA to manage the Medications Return Program.

“This program allowed Manitoba pharmacies to collect and safely dispose of approximately 16,000 kilograms of unused or expired medications last year,” said Friesen. “Informing and educating Manitobans of the value in turning in their unused or unwanted medicine is of paramount importance, both for the environment and for public safety.”

Nearly 350 registered pharmacies in the province participate in the HPSA’s program, which also supports the Drug Free Kids Canada campaign. This Canadian charity has designated August as National Drug Drop-off Month.

“Who doesn’t need toiletries, even prescriptions and, at this time of the year, sun screen,” said Ginette Vanasse, director general of the HPSA. “It only takes a few minutes to put unused medications into a bag before you go shopping and drop them off with your pharmacist. I urge everyone to take a few minutes this August to clear out the medicine cabinets of unused, unwanted or expired medications.”

"Community pharmacists are the most easily-accessible members of our health care system and a vital resource for Manitobans,” said Dr. Brenna Shearer, CEO of Pharmacists Manitoba. “We know how important it is to regularly check your home for medications that are expired or no longer needed, and to dispose of them properly to prevent misuse, accidental ingestion, or harm to the environment. The Medications Returns Program allows people to do this in a convenient and easy manner.”

One of the goals of the renewed partnership between Manitoba and the Health Products Stewardship Association is to continue and further develop convenient, province-wide access to recycling opportunities including in northern, remote and Indigenous communities.

Under the responsibility-based model, industry groups and consumers bear the costs associated with recycling and safe disposal. In addition to medication, other examples of designated materials include tires, automotive batteries and oil and beverage containers.

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