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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-18

Patients' knowledge and practice on disposal of medicines kept in households in South Africa: Findings and implications


1 Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
2 Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa; Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom; Center of Medical and Bio-allied Health Sciences Research, Ajman University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates
3 Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa; Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom; Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Brian Godman
Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa; Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; Center of Medical and Bio-allied Health Sciences Research, Ajman University, Ajman

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jrpp.jrpp_85_21

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Objective: The disposal of unwanted, unused, or expired medicines is a concern. Currently, there is little knowledge regarding their disposal among patients in South Africa. Consequently, there is a need to address this. Methods: This was a descriptive and quantitative study with patients conducted among 16 primary health-care clinics (PHCs) in South Africa. A structured questionnaire was administered to 171 conveniently selected patients. Data on ideal disposal methods were collected and compared to actual disposal practices. Findings: 74.9% of patients reported having unused medicines at home, of whom 34.4% wanted these medicines disposed of. However, 64.9% did not know how to dispose of them, with 95.3% reporting having never been informed by health-care professionals of disposal methods. While patients prefer to return medicines to their PHC, only 7.0% did so. Patients' ideal disposal practices included designated collection task teams (25.1%) and dissolving their unused medicines in water (38.6%). However, current practices indicated that patients flushed medicines down the sewer (31.6%) or disposed of them in municipal bins (23.9%). Conclusion: Patients disposed of their unwanted medicines using incorrect disposal techniques, which they thought were correct. This urgently needs to be addressed.


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