NatRUM Monash Audit Launch March 2014

NatRUM launches Key Findings from an Audit of Medicine collections from Australian Pharmacies

Embargoed until 9am Thurs 27th March 2014

Today in Parliament House, Canberra, Senator the Honourable Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, will launch the findings of a landmark audit of collections of out-of-date and unwanted medicines sampled from Pharmacies all over Australia, conducted by the Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The survey found that an estimated 540 tonnes of medicines annually are subjected to environmentally safe disposal by the RUM Project, and of that total, 44% had not expired.

The majority of medicines (68%) belonged to five therapeutic classes – cardiovascular (18%), nervous system (17%), alimentary tract (16%), respiratory (9%) and anti-infective (8%) – which correlates well with PBS dispensing data.

Of the most commonly discarded medicines, Insulin (in all its forms), Salbutamol, Paracetamol, Frusemide and Glyceryl trinitrate  were the top 5.

Eighty-five percent of the returned medicines were scheduled – 81% Schedule 4, and 9%, 8% and 2% Schedule 2, 3 and 8 respectively.

The Monash Report concludes that the NatRUM Program is a critically important and highly viable public health initiative, safeguarding the health of consumers in Australia, and the environment.

The Chairman of NatRUM, Mr Warwick Plunkett says “The results of the audit have provided a valuable insight into the utilisation of the NatRUM program by pharmacists as well as some of the medicine consumption and hoarding habits of the public. These findings are likely to generate a number of important recommendations for Government and Pharmacy organisations around the PBS and the pharmacist’s role in dispensing medications and their ongoing management.

The audit also underlines the important role NatRUM plays in the Government’s QUM policy with the removal of outdated and unwanted medicines from the home, in an environmentally appropriate way, while reducing dramatically the potential hazards of misuse and accidental poisoning that such hoarding can produce”.

For further information, contact:

Mr Simon Appel OAM – Project Manager

03 9583 8699 – Mobile 0417 600 419