Unused Prescription Medication, Can you donate?

We have a some unused meds when my ex died.

Is there anyway to donate them?

I have checked at all pharmacies, hospitals and nursing care agencies in my area (Ohio) and no one will take them.

I hate to throw them all away.

Any ideas?

The drugs are:

Generlac 10GM/15 Liquid. Full bottle. Does not look as it was ever opened. Dispensed 9/17/08. Maybe it was a refill?
Gabapentin 300MG Qty 90 disp 3/6/08 but a whole bottle ? maybe this was a refilled?
Spironolact 100 MG qty 30, disp 10/23/08
Diltiazem 240 mg ER qty 30, disp 10/23/08
Metoprolol 50 mg qty 60, disp 10/23/08

I strongly doubt you’ll find anyone to accept them - way too much potential for shenanigans. Just toss them.

I’ve seen that some governors thought collecting and distributing drugs from patients that don’t need them was a good way to lower drug costs for the poor. That never panned out and that’s good news. the drugs could be tampered with. They could have been handled and stored improperly causing a quality problem. Somebody may have dumped all of one kind together in one bottle so some are past the use by date. I would expect a lot of the drugs to have a quality problem by the time they were collected and redistributed. During a disaster when there is a shortage of drugs medical personnel might want the unused ones. Any other time the risk or liability of a quality problem isn’t worth using them.

Our pharmacies are required to take back meds for proper disposal. But not for reuse.

I had a similar problem, I was taking an injection blood thinner. I understand very well the fear of “shenanigans” (as per Smeghead) but the unused hypodermics were still sealed in plastic! And no one would take them.

It wasn’t even that I could dump them in the toilet, I had to take them to a hopsital with a medical disposal unit. Sigh.

I had a fortune in medicines I stopped using at different times when I was ill. I hated to not be able give them to somebody, but there is just no safe way to donate and reuse medicine.

I can see the fear of contaminates. I guess I will just throw them all away. I just hoped some one could use it.

A shame really.

If they were pain pills I would have people beating down my door…lol

Turn them in to your pharmacist or doctor; they know how to dispose of them safely. Anything you just “throw out” eventually winds up in our water.

Legalities have messed up most people’s ability to help each other. Not being able to give away meds you don’t need is one example; losing your apartment when you let homeless friends “double up” is another. It’s a shame.

When my doctor switched my insulin, I had about $250 (face value) of new, unopened, at least 1 year from expiry date insulin in my fridge, which I could not give away to anyone. Every diabetic I offered it too turned me down flat as it was “too risky.” Never mind that I’m a stable, professional career person who’s been though more than a few government background checks, for some reason offering insulin to people was a no-no.

I will get rid of them but it is a shame.

So many people need meds they can not afford and here we are holding over $300 worth of them and we can not give them away. :frowning:

I know about federal law and all but there should be a donation project for more than just AIDS drugs.


I asked my doc about this very thing a few weeks ago. She said I can’t “turn them in” anywhere. Also said I should not put them down the toilet because, as panache45 mentioned, they end up in the water.

She suggested I fill the prescription container with water (and the remaining pills) and close it up and toss it in the trash. That way it stays out of the water and stays out of the hands of someone it could end up harming.

Does indeed suck that you can’t give them away. I have over $100 in diabetic meds that could greatly help someone.

Your kindness and consideration is commendable, but ask yourself if you would take previously-distributed pills from an unknown source.

Pharmaceutical development, manufacture and distribution is one of the most tightly regulated things in medicine. Potential for error is high enough even with the current safeguards.

For large volumes, overseas distribution to charitable causes might be an alternative; for tiny volumes of little pink and blue pills, the only workable practical solution might be to find a friend on the same med, and one who will save out of pocket money by using up your pills.

We have a cynical adage in medicine: No good deed goes unpunished.

So be careful if, out of the goodness of your heart, you do anything besides proper disposal with potentially lethal medications.

I get what you’re saying, and I’d have no problems trusting you, but even so, I’d feel awfully leery injecting something into my bloodstream that has been in someone else’s hands for some period of time. It just wouldn’t be worth the admittedly miniscule risk to me.

I have huge bottles of pain meds and antibiotics that no one will ever use…


Even within the walls of the pharmaceutical company, anything that got sent to a lab but unused (for example) can’t even be returned to the lot and sold/distributed.

I had an annoying project once where we’d receive 10 boxes (final packaging) of a drug for identification testing (confirmation that drug in vial is drug on the box); the tests used 2 boxes at most, 4 if we had to repeat. The 6-8 unused and unopened boxes had to be incinerated rather than sent back to the warehouse for sale. It took me months to convince the managers to change the sampling protocol so that we’d receive fewer boxes in the lab. They finally cut it down to 6.

I’m sure you can find someone who will want the pain meds easy enough :smiley:

Oh yeah. Those have a high black market value, and in that market, people don’t care about the source of the meds.

We had some projects around here - I think Doctors without frontiers, along with some smaller aid agencies - that collected medication (together with sealed needles and the like) for the third world, because labs and apothecaries donated their time to test and verify the medications and then packaging and distributing them through the aid agencies network itself to prevent tampering.

Is this not done in the US?

I remember a rather sad news article a year or so ago about online support communities for various illnesses and medical conditions which are usually terminal. It mentioned that the final gift to the community some people do when their family member dies is to donate left over medications to others in the community struggling to pay for their person’s medication. Obviously not very safe but is probably a desperate measure for some people.