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Sydney launch of disposal program for unwanted medicines

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To: Political editor Media Monitors

Media Release S E N A T O R G R A N T TA M B LIN G Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aged Care

Wednesday 18/11/98


The Commonwealth Government has welcomed today’s announcement that Sydney residents now have access to a new program to dispose o f unwanted and out-of-date medicines in an environmentally-fricndly way.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator the Hon. Gi ant Tambling, said the Sydney launch was a significant step forward in the Government’s push to establish a national medicines disposal scheme

“I’m pleased that almost all pharmacies in Sydney are participating in the program,” Senator Tambling said.

‘Out-of-date and unwanted medicines pose a risk to health and the environment if they are not properly disposed of They can be dangerous - especially to children - if left lying around the home.”

Senator Tambling was commenting on the Sydney launch of the OPAL Return Unwanted Medicines program, in which consumers arc encouraged to return their expired and unwanted medicines to their local pharmacy Pharmacy wholesaler networks will collect the medicines from pharmacies for safe destruction at environmental waste centres.

it is part o f a national program, believed to be the first o f its kind in the world, for which the Commonwealth Government has provided $3 million over the next three years.

“With an estimated 200 tonnes o f medicines a year inappropriately disposed o f in landfill and through sewerage systems, the Government was pleased to be able to demonstrate its commitment to environmental responsibility and safety in the home by providing funding for this important initiative,” Senator Tambling said.

“The program is expected to be operating in three States - New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia - before Christmas, and nationally by the end of next year.”

Further information: Peter McMahon (Senator Tambling’s office) (02) 6277 3436 or 0419 691 443 Jenny Denholm (Department of Health and Aged Care) (02)6289 5177 or 0411 255 212

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