The National Conference of State Legislatures offer these general guidelines for consumers hoping to donate drugs:
• Only specific entities can make a donation, such as licensed health care facilities, hospitals, pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers or distributors. As mentioned above, some states do allow patients to donate directly.
• Pills in opened or partly used bottles are never accepted. Generally the drug must be in its original, unopened, sealed, and tamper-evident unit dose packaging.
• Old drugs are never accepted. Expiration dates must be visible, and usually at least six months later than the date of donation. (Many prescription products carry an expiration date approximately one year after the original date of the purchase)
• Commonly, donated drugs must be delivered to a specific type of medical or pharmacy facility. Some may require the donor to sign a form or waiver.
• Usually financial compensation is prohibited. Donations may be tax-deductible if paid for by the individual patient and taxpayer. Beyond donation programs, patients and other individuals may not sell any prescription drugs - such transactions are strictly regulated by State Boards of Pharmacy and other state and federal laws.
• If your goal as a consumer is simply to protect your local water supply or clean out your medicine cabinet, these programs will not meet your needs.
• If you wish to participate, check with a local pharmacy or prescriber for practical advice on what may work in your situation, in your state.
Disposing of Used Sharps or Syringes
Several of the self-injectable biologic medications prescribed for RA are supplied in a pre-filled syringe or pre-filled auto-injector device. After injecting the medication, it is important to know what to do with those used syringes and single-use devices.
DO NOT place the used syringe or auto-injector device directly in your household trash. DO NOT place them in recycling either. When you are done with your injection, place the used syringe in a closable puncture-resistant container such as a red biohazard sharps container (obtainable from the pharmacy which provides your medication) or a hard plastic container such as a large laundry detergent bottle. The detergent bottle was my preferred collection device when I used daily shots of Copaxone (a medication for MS). I could fit almost 300 used syringes in one large bottle before I needed to dispose of the container. DO NOT use a glass or clear plastic container.
When your “sharps container” is full, securely fasten the lid so that it will not come off. Some counties will allow you do dispose of the secured container with your household trash (mine does); other counties do not. Ask your doctor for instructions on how to dispose of sharps in your area. There may be special state and local laws regarding the disposal of used needles and syringes, including auto-injectors. Contact your local waste management company for more information.