Q: My grandmother recently passed away and had unused, expensive medication. Can I donate it and if so, where?
A: Many people today are confronted with proper disposal of medications to create a safer environment for our seniors (avoiding possible medication-related problems or mix-ups). It also provides a safer situation with our youth who might live in the home, helping to minimize the opportunity for them to seek, find and take medications not intended for them. We are also concerned about pollution of our waterways and water tables.
Proper disposal of the medications can be found on the FDA website. (www.fda.org)
Donation of unused medication can present some problems. If the donated medications are controlled substances, it would be considered an infraction of the law (felony) to transfer the medication to another person. (There is a notation on each prescription label advising against transfer to another person.)
Some charities collect medications to take overseas to help other countries in need but these are usually not mediations that have been opened. Usually they are donated, unusable medications; many are still in date and come from pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, etc.
There may be a local clinic or charity in your community who can better advise you of opportunities to redirect non-controlled medications so that they can be put to use. Please consider that purity and cleanliness of medications that have been opened cannot be assured. This is another reason that such medications may not be "recyclable" to a new user.