Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Interview with the Oregonian

Yesterday morning, I chatted for awhile with Don Colburn, a health reporter at The Oregonian. He wanted to know how I became interested in drug repositories and what drove me to contact my state rep, Sara Gelser. I hope that I was coherent. I think it's a good solution to unused drugs. I hate wasting things - I'm definitely of the "reuse/recycle" mode. It's a shame that drugs, which are so expensive, just get thrown away if they can't be used.

I have had prescriptions in the past and even now that I probably won't use - one prescription costs $3000/month! I also have some "durable medical equipment" - some dressings from the wound pump and also other dressings I had for that open skin wound. Those dressings are probably worth about $1000. I'm loathe to get rid of them. It would be wonderful if there was a place that I drop them off so that someone else could use them - especially if that someone did not have the financial means.

Right now, with prescription drugs, the recommendation for unused drugs is to mix it with kitty litter or coffee grounds and send it to the landfill. It used to be to dump them into the toilet, but antibiotics have gotten into our ground water, so that's not a good alternative. I've heard, too, that you can return drugs to pharmaceutical companies, where it is said they will incinerate them, but imagine the air pollution that that might cause. I'm also cynical enough about pharmaceutical companies - and one of my colleagues has said that there has been proof - that I think they would take the drugs and then turn around and resell them in third world countries.

I'm not sure when the article will run in the Oregonian . . . when it does, I'll post a link. I think it's important to get support for Sara Gelser's bill in the Oregon state legislature . . . if I can get my act together, I'll contact people and ask them to send letters of support to their legislators! If I'm feeling up to it, I may go testify on this bill on Monday in Salem.

Thank you to Don for reporting on this important issue!

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