Storage and disposal of safe medicines


Medicines play an important role in healthcare. However, to keep them safe and effective, it’s important to understand how to store them correctly and dispose of them safely. This article describes best practices for storing medicines to maintain their effectiveness, and the appropriate way to dispose of unused or expired medicines to protect against health and environmental risks.

Basic rules for storing medicines

  1. Store medicines at the right temperature : One of the most important factors in storing medicines is temperature. Most pharmaceutical products need to be stored at a special temperature, generally between 15°C and 30°C. Read the label carefully for recommendations.
  2. Store medicines in a dry place: Medicines should be stored in dry places to avoid humidity, which could affect their effectiveness. They should not be stored in areas of high humidity, such as the bathroom.
  3. Store medicines away from light: Some medicines are sensitive to light and should be kept in opaque packaging or cabinets to prevent deterioration.
  4. Keep medicines in their original packaging: Keep medicines in their original packaging so that identification and dosage information can be easily found.
  5. Keep medicines away from children: Make sure medicines are stored in a place out of children’s reach, such as a locked cupboard or box. Child-resistant packaging is recommended.
  6. Respect expiration dates: Never use medicines after their expiration date, as their effectiveness may be reduced, and they may become dangerous.

Specific drug storage locations

  • Some drugs, such as liquid antibiotics and insulin, should be kept refrigerated. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid freezing.
  • Moisture-sensitive drugs such as effervescent tablets should be stored in closed containers to prevent the development of mould.
  • Opioid analgesics such as oxycodone can be abused and should be kept in a safe place.
  • Pet medications must also be kept in a safe place, inaccessible to children and other pets.

Best practices for drug disposal :

  • Do not flush unused or expired medication down the toilet or drain, as this could contaminate drinking water or the environment.
  • Take advantage of drug return programs: Many pharmacies and medical facilities offer drug return programs that allow you to safely return unused medications.
  • Always read the drug instructions carefully, as some drugs may have specific recommendations for disposal.
  • Some opioid drugs can be inactivated using special equipment available in pharmacies. This makes the drug unnecessary and less likely to be abused.
  • If no return option is available, you can mix the unused medication with used coffee grounds or cat litter before throwing it in the garbage can. Seal the bag containing the mixture.
  • If you have any questions about the safe disposal of your medications, please contact your pharmacist. They can give you precise, useful advice.

How to raise awareness of safe drug storage and disposal?

  1. Raising public awareness: Public education campaigns are essential to raise awareness of the risks associated with inappropriate storage and disposal of medicines. Governments and healthcare institutions must play an active role in raising awareness.
  2. Ongoing patient education: Healthcare professionals must continue to educate patients on the proper storage and disposal of medications when prescribing each prescription.
  3. Pharmaceutical recycling: Research is currently underway in many regions into pharmaceutical recycling, which involves repackaging unused medicines and distributing them to people in need.


Drug storage and disposal are important aspects of responsible health management. By practicing the right storage methods, you can be sure that your medicines remain effective, useful and safe. On the other hand, proper disposal of unused or out-of-date medicines helps to protect the environment and prevent drug abuse. Through education and public awareness, we can all help to ensure that medicines are used safely and responsibly for the benefit of our health and our planet.