Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Pharmaceutical Services Department revealed that medications worth around Dh21.3 million were donated by the authority to charities from 2013 to date, in order to benefit those in need. The authority also raised awareness about the correct methods of storing, donating and disposing of medication to ensure the safety and well-being of the people of Dubai.
Dr Ali Al Sayed, Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Department at DHA, said that Dubai residents with expired or unused medication can drop it off at any of the DHA pharmacies who will in turn dispose of the medication in a safe manner and donate unused medication to those in need.
“The department disposes of expired medications in line with international pharmaceutical safety guidelines. Meanwhile, unused medication is donated to those in need after being re-evaluated by experts within the Pharmaceutical Services Department,” said Al Sayed.
Al Sayed stressed that the disposing of expired medication in an unsafe manner can pose serious health risks to individuals. For example, flushing down the medication is harmful for the environment and pollutes the water and disposing of medicines in the garbage (even if it is tightly sealed) pollutes the soil.
“Therefore, the best way to dispose of outdated medications is to return the medicines to DHA pharmacies for safe disposal. DHA coordinates with relevant authorities to get rid of expired medication. We encourage residents to drop their medication at any of the DHA pharmacies across DHA Primary Health Centres or those attached to hospitals (Rashid, Latifa, Dubai and Hatta),” he said.
Al Sayed also revealed that the authority launched the Clean Your Medicine Cabinet campaign in 2013 to raise awareness about the right method of medicine storage, disposal and donation.
The best way to dispose of outdated medications is to return the medicines to DHA pharmacies for safe disposal.
“Since the inception of the campaign, medication worth around Dh21.3 million has been donated to various charities in the UAE. We donated medication worth around Dh2 million every year from 2013 to 2017. In 2018 we donated medication worth around Dh7.3 million and in 2019 we have donated medication worth around Dh4 million so far.
“This shows that there has been an increase in public awareness and that more people are dropping off their medication. We hope to continue raising awareness among the public to benefit as many people in need as possible.”
Beware of buying medication via social media
The Pharmaceutical Services Department at the DHA also warned the public about buying medication from social media and to avoid taking illegal and possibly harmful drugs that can have negative side effects.
The department revealed that there are many rogue websites that offer to sell potentially dangerous drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness. Although a rogue site may look professional and legitimate, it could actually be an illegal operation.
These websites often sell unapproved drugs, expired drugs, drugs that contain the wrong active ingredients, drugs that may contain too much or too little of the active ingredient, counterfeit drugs or drugs that contain dangerous ingredients.
Furthermore, these websites don’t advise patients on how to take the medication such as explaining how many times a day and when to take the medication.
Therefore the department advises the public to make sure that the website or social media channel they are buying from is licensed by the concerned authority in the country and has a licensed pharmacist available to answer patient’s questions.