Article Text

Download PDFPDF

2SPD-003 Proper management and economic burden of unused medications disposal in a sustainable Latin American hospital: a retrospective study
  1. E Zavaleta1,
  2. B Serrano-Arias1,
  3. S Arguedas-Chacón1,
  4. A Cartín-Ramírez2,
  5. A Quirós-Yen2,
  6. JA Villalobos-Madriz3,
  7. JP Díaz-Madriz1
  1. 1Hospital Clinica Biblica, Pharmacy Department, San Jose, Costa Rica
  2. 2Universidad Iberoamericana, Faculty of Pharmacy, San José, Costa Rica
  3. 3Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Faculty of Pharmacy, San José, Costa Rica


Background and Importance The remarkable progress made in healthcare has led to a simultaneous surge in pharmaceutical waste generation, driven by the increasing number of patients, prescriptions, medication consumption, and overproduction. Approximately two-thirds of prescription medications go unused. Environmental contamination with medications, if not disposed of correctly, can have far-reaching implications.

For this reason, conducting a thorough assessment of pharmaceutical waste, considering both quantity and quality, is crucial.

Aim and Objectives The goal of this study is to illustrate the correct medication disposal practices and their economic repercussions within a sustainable Latin American hospital. Additionally, it seeks to comprehend the linked indirect costs and identify which medications are at a higher risk of becoming waste.

Material and Methods In this study, we conducted a retrospective analysis of medication disposal records spanning the years 2020 to 2023. The records pertained to routine medication disposal, necessitated primarily by reasons such as expiration, damage, or recalls.

The methodology involved a systematic categorisation of pharmaceutical products earmarked for disposal. For each medication, we meticulously recorded the quantity that was discarded, the specific reason behind its disposal, the original source of the medication, and its corresponding category.

Additionally, we gathered comprehensive data on the procedures employed for the controlled, responsible, and safe disposal of medications, providing insights into the methods utilised to ensure the proper management of pharmaceutical waste.

Results Table 1 shows the discarded units of preparations according to their classification by therapeutic groups, where it is noteworthy that food products, cardiovascular system drugs, and nervous system drugs take the top positions.

On the other hand, when estimating the cost in US dollars. (USD) associated with this waste, it was found that during the study period, the costs of discarded medications amount to approximately 300,000 USD. This is led by anti-infective drugs, antineoplastics, and immunomodulators.

Abstract 2SPD-003 Table 1

Conclusion and Relevance When analysing the outcome of the medication disposal process, it is important to emphasise that these data were collected thanks to a successful protocol for managing such waste. Their analysis highlights a significant monetary wastage and also poses a risk to the environment and public health, as improper disposal of products such as anti-infective drugs, antineoplastics, and immunomodulators could pose a threat.

Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.