Practice towards disposal of medicines (unused/expired drugs) among the patients visiting tertiary care teaching hospital in Haryana, India


  • Arvind Narwat Department of Pharmacology, BPS Government Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana, India
  • Anjali Sindhu Department of Pathology, BPS Government Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana, India



Ecosystem, Expired/unused drugs, Improper disposal


Background: Awareness towards improper disposal of medicines and its hazardous impact on environment is one of the major issues which we are neglecting but needs to be focused. In general, expired medicines/waste medicines/ left out medicines are disposed in the garbage or, rinse in sink or flushed down toilet, which ends up in the water system and have a potential effect on ecosystem. With this background, the present study was conducted to assess the practice towards disposal of medicines (Unused/Expired Drugs) among the patients visiting tertiary care teaching hospital in Haryana.

Methods: This study was a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted through face-to-face interviews by using a validated structured Questionnaire in patients attending the OPD of PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana. A total of 150 patients participated in this study.

Results: Among the 150 Patients participated in the study, 94 were male and 56 were female. Most common class of medicines used were NSAIDS (34%). About the practice of disposal of medicines 62% of them threw into the dustbin (household garbage) 18% into the toilet/sink. About consequences of improper disposal (55%) of them answered that they were not aware. The most common reason for left out medicines in home was incompletion of the course due to getting relieved from disease (50%). Most common way of procuring medicine was purchased on prescription and surprisingly only 30% participants checked the expiry date of medicine before procuring.  Among the participants 75% said that government should be responsible to create awareness for proper disposal of unused medicines.

Conclusions: The present study brought out the current status and lacuna towards the disposal of medicines. Patients do not use all the medications and there is lack of knowledge about awareness of disposal of medicines and its consequences.


Seehusen DA, Edwards J. Patient practices and beliefs concerning disposal of medications. J Am Board Fam Med. 2006;19(6):542-7.

Ruhoy IS, Daughton CG. Beyond the medicine cabinet: an analysis of where and why medications accumulate. Environ Int. 2008;34(8):1157-69.

WHO. Challenges in expanding access to essential medicines, 2014. Available at: Accessed 30 June 2016.

WHO. The world medicines situation, 2004. Avalable at: Accessed 30 June 2016.

Ananth AP, Prashanthini V, Visvanathan C. Healthcare waste management in Asia. Waste Manag. 2010;30(1):154-61.

Wu M, Atchley D, Greer L, Janssen S, Rosenberg D, Sass J. Dosed without prescription: preventing pharmaceutical contamination of our nation’s drinking water. Natural Resources Defense Council White Paper. 2009:1-60.

Oaks JL, Gilbert M, Virani MZ, Watson RT, Meteyer CU, Rideout BA, et al. Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan. Nature. 2004;427(6975):630-3.

Boehringer S. What’s the best way to dispose of medications. Pharm Lett. 2004;20(4):200415.

Jobling S, Williams R, Johnson A, Taylor A, Gross-Sorokin M, Nolan M, et al. Predicted exposures to steroid estrogens in UK rivers correlate with widespread sexual disruption in wild fish populations. 2005;114(1):32-9.

Vollmer G. Disposal of pharmaceutical waste in householdsa european survey. Green Sustainable Pharmacy. Springer; 2010: 165-78.

Braund R, Peake BM, Shieffelbien L. Disposal practices for unused medications in New Zealand. Environ Int. 2009;35(6):952-5.

Tong AY, Peake BM, Braund R. Disposal practices for unused medications around the world. Environ Int. 2011;37(1):292-8.

Kusturica MP, Sabo A, Tomic Z, Horvat O, Šolak Z. Storage and disposal of unused medications: knowledge, behavior, and attitudes among Serbian people. Int J Clin Pharm. 2012;34(4):604-10.

Persson M, Sabelström E, Gunnarsson B. Handling of unused prescription drugs knowledge, behaviour and attitude among Swedish people. Environ Int. 2009;35(5):771-4.

Costanzo SD, Murby J, Bates J. Ecosystem response to antibiotics entering the aquatic environment. Mar Pollut Bull. 2005;51(1):218-23.

Abou-Auda HS. An economic assessment of the extent of medication use and wastage among families in Saudi Arabia and Arabian Gulf Countries. Clin Ther, 2003;25(4):1276-92.

Lagishetty R, Nagarajan P, Vijayanandhan SS. Practice towards disposal of medicines (left out / expired drugs) among the patients visiting tertiary care teaching hospital and primary health centre in South India. Asian J Biochem and Pharmaceut Res. 2013;1(4):175-82.

Waghulkar VM. Dark side of PPCP: an unconscious infiltration into environment. Int J Chem Tech Res. 2010;2:899-902.

Vijayanandhan SS. Knowledge, Attitude & practice (KAP) towards disposal of medicine: a qualitative study among health care professionals in South India. W J Pharma Res. 2014;3(6):1955-63.




How to Cite

Narwat, A., & Sindhu, A. (2019). Practice towards disposal of medicines (unused/expired drugs) among the patients visiting tertiary care teaching hospital in Haryana, India. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 7(8), 3050–3053.



Original Research Articles