oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - A pilot study to determine public trends in storage and disposal of medicines : PSSA perspectives

Volume 75, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



The aim of this study was to investigate medicine storage and disposal methods by the public.

Proper storage and disposal of medication is often neglected by the general public with serious consequences. Most pharmaceuticals past their expiry date become less efficacious or toxic and improper disposal may be hazardous if it leads to environmental contamination. Expired drugs or ineffective storage and disposal practices carry a public health risk.
The study was in the form of a questionnaire. The questionnaire, comprised of twenty questions, was designed using previous studies. A pilot test using ten people was undertaken to verify questionnaire suitability. The revised questionnaire was administered, with informed consent, to 200 randomly chosen participants in residential areas in the eThekwini area. The data was statistically analysed using SPSS.
The results indicated that most people bought their medication from the pharmacy (69%), and stored it in a cupboard (36.5%) as this was considered safe (48.5%), or convenient (35.5%). Most people are aware of the importance to store medicine in a cool and dry area (74.5%). Medicines are mainly disposed of by throwing it away (62.5%).
While the general public has knowledge on proper storage of medicine, knowledge with regard to disposal of medicines is inadequate and needs to be addressed.

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