Walgreens, Leading Health Care Organizations Collect More Than 885 Tons of Unwanted Medication

DEERFIELD, Ill., October 16, 2019 - Walgreens today announced its first of its kind safe medication disposal kiosk program has collected and safely disposed of more than 885 tons – the combined weight of about 350 pickup trucks – of unwanted prescriptions, including controlled substances and other medications, as of Aug. 31, 2019.

Walgreens continues to work with leading health care organizations AmerisourceBergen, Pfizer and Prime Therapeutics to expand its safe medication disposal kiosks across the country. Safe medication disposal kiosks collect unwanted prescriptions year-round at no cost to customers.

“We are proud to be the leader in making ‘drug take back day’ available every day, just as we are grateful to the organizations across the health care community who have joined us to address the opioid epidemic,” said Rick Gates, senior vice president of pharmacy and health care, Walgreens. “We recommend everyone utilize drug disposal options available throughout their community or participate in DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in effort to safely dispose of unwanted medications.”

“We are proud to be part of this effort and inspired by the results announced today. Pfizer is committed to helping reduce the harmful and intentional misuse of and accidental exposure to unwanted medicines. We look forward to the continued success of this partnership in advancing safe drug disposal,” said Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at Pfizer.

“Prime is thrilled to be a part of the success of this collaborative program that helps rid our homes and communities of unneeded controlled substances,” said Jonathan Gavras, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Prime Therapeutics. “Prime also continues to work upstream to help manage appropriate prescribing for high-risk opioid users, and we are proud to report we have reduced the number of people at risk by 89% over the past six years. Working both upstream and downstream, we all can play a role in ending this national opioid epidemic.”

Finding one of the nearly 1,500 safe medication disposal kiosks – available at Walgreens stores in 46 states and Washington, D.C. – has never been easier. Through a collaboration with Google, Walgreens locations with drug disposal options can quickly and easily be found by searching for “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me,” in Google or Google Maps.

Increasing Access to Drug Disposal and Naloxone

All Walgreens pharmacies without safe medication disposal kiosks offer DisposeRx or other drug disposal options*, available year-round upon request at the pharmacy counter. Both programs make the disposal of medications — including opioids and other controlled substances — easier and more convenient.

As part of its continuing effort to combat drug abuse, Walgreens will again participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Oct. 26, when select Walgreens stores throughout the country will serve as a collection point for law enforcement to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal.

In addition to drug disposal options, Walgreens can dispense naloxone, including FDA approved Narcan nasal spray, without requiring a prescription in all of its U.S. and Puerto Rico pharmacies. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that if administered in time can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The company has also expanded its use of secure time delay safes in more than 8,600 of its pharmacies across 48 states and Washington, D.C., designed to prevent diversion of controlled substances by averting the accessibility of narcotic medications by unauthorized individuals.

To learn more of Walgreens efforts visit Walgreens.com/combatdrugabuse.

*Walgreens pharmacies in Iowa and Nebraska without safe medication disposal kiosks offer alternative drug disposal options available upon request in the pharmacy at no cost.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Approximately 8 million customers interact with Walgreens in stores and online each day, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. As of August 31, 2018, Walgreens operates 9,560 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with its omnichannel business, Walgreens.com. Approximately 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.

Explore Themes in this Press Release