Following a series of trials prior to July 1998 the Commonwealth Department of Health provided funds to facilitate the collection and disposal of unwanted and out-of-date medicines from the Australian community. A total of $3 million was provided, over three years.
The National Return & Disposal of Unwanted Medicines Limited (ABN 79 082 871 663), is a national not-for-profit company, registered specifically for this purpose.
Known as the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project, the national scheme provides for unwanted and out-of-date medicines to be collected by community pharmacies from consumers. The medicines are then disposed of by high temperature incineration, which is the EPA approved method of disposal.
This Commonwealth Government funded program addresses a fundamental impediment to the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) in Australia, namely safe disposal.
Storage of old and unwanted medicines can lead to medicines becoming toxic or harming children if left lying around. Aged consumers can become confused with many medications which can lead to “medication mismanagement”, often needing hospital care.
Finally, medicines disposal down the sink or toilet, or in rubbsih bins, can lead to poor environmental consequences.
Community pharmacies collect these medicines at no cost to consumers, and pharmaceutical wholesalers provide support via a discounted charge for delivery and collection of RUM Project containers, to and from pharmacies.
The Project is funded by the Commonwealth Government until end of June 2018; at this time the funding will be reviewed once again.
The RUM Project initiative is a “world first” in the management and removal of unwanted and out-of-date medicines from the community.
Toni Riley – Project Manager
Board of Directors
Over the years of the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project, some manufacturer companies have provided sponsorship support.
We look to introducing a regular sponsorship facility in the future.
The RUM Project is registered with the Australian taxation office as a Deductable Gift Recipient (DGR).