Medicine worth 180 million thrown away yearly

Medicine worth 180 million thrown away yearly

07/25/2022 - 09:53

What do you do with your unused medicine? Reusable medicine worth €180 million are thrown away on a yearly basis.
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Research conducted by 4th-year students in the minor Modern Business in a Changing World at BUas shows that only one third of the population return residual medicine in a proper way. Others throw their medicine away with the household waste or flush them via the toilet and sink. However, this seriously threatens the environment and water management system.

The students also analysed the value of returned medicine at the pharmacies, which was valued at approximately €120 million per year. However, this only covers 1/3 of the total quantity of unused medicines. The total value of unused medicine per year adds up to €360 million of which half, or €180 million, is still reusable.

Part of the minor is setting up pilots to change the behaviour of people. Students tested several ways to increase the awareness among people that medicine needs to, and can, be returned. Additionally, the students talked with a large Dutch supermarket to put medicine return boxes in their stores. By increasing the possibility to return excessive medicine, there is the hope that the returned amounts will increase over time.

For more information, including a video about the research, check the publication by ‘Pharmaceutisch Weekblad’  (in Dutch only)