PSI Networking Calls Pharmaceutical Source Reduction Policies Series


Free Webinar Series: Policies to Prevent Pharmaceutical Waste (2014)


Unused Medications: Just How Much Are We Throwing Away?

Wednesday May 23rd, 2014; 1-2 pm (eastern time)

Overview: Estimates of the quantity of medications that go unused vary tremendously from 2% to 40%. This webinar will examine the question of quantity of medications that go unused and the associated costs. PSI will provide a review of existing literature and studies including estimates from the fields of public health, pharmaceutical waste management and data from existing drug take-backs. At this stage there is a paucity of comprehensive studies addressing this question and this review is intended to serve as a jumping off point for discussion about emerging research needs and potential methodologies for estimating the quantity of prescribed medications which go unused.


  • Kate Hagemann, Associate of Policy and Programs, Product Stewardship Institute
  • Jeanie Jaramillo, Managing Director, Texas Panhandle Poison Center Director, Medication Cleanout Assistant Professor, Texas Tech UHSC School of Pharmacy
  • Ed Gottlieb, Chair, Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal; Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Stevan Gressitt, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., Faculty Associate, University of Maine Center on Aging, Academic Member, Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, Greece, Founding Director, International Institute for Pharmaceutical Safety, University of New England, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine



Listen to the recorded webinar


Policies to Prevent Pharmaceutical Waste: Initial Prescription Limitations and Pro-rating Co-pays

Thursday, May 17th, 2014 2-3 PM (eastern time)

Overview: When patients receive a new prescription they usually fill a full 30-, 60- or 90-day prescription before they know whether the medicine will work for them. Currently most co-pay structures require patients to pay a flat fee, or a percentage, of the total prescription cost each time they fill or renew a prescription. When a patient stops taking medication for any reason, the remainder goes to waste and cannot be redistributed. Limiting the initial prescription size or pro-rating the patient's co-pay for medications can therefore reduce waste. In Maine, an initial prescription limitation policy is already being implemented. This policy, put in place in 2009, limits initial prescriptions to 15-day supplies for certain drugs. As part of their Drug Utilization Management and Fraud, Abuse, and Waste Control Program, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently issued a new rule which creastes a financial incentive for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to ask their prescribers for less than a month's supply when appropriate. Under the new policy patients would have the option to pay a lower, pro-rated cost when the prescription is dispensed, which reduces costs and waste.

Presenters: Sierra Fletcher, Director of Policy and Programs, Product Stewardship Institute

Expert Panelists:

  • Jennifer Palow, Acting MIHMS Project Manager, Director of Operations, Office of MaineCare Services
  • Tracey McCutcheon, Deputy Director, Medicare Drug Benefit & C&D Data Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Lisa Vanston Thorpe, Esq., U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Drug Benefit and Part C & D Data Group Division of Drug Plan Policy and Quality


Powerpoint Presentation

Listen to the recorded webinar


Policies to Prevent Pharmaceutical Waste: Looking at Sample Waste

Monday June 4th, 2014; 1-2 PM (eastern time)

Overview: Some pharmaceutical companies offer samples of their branded medications to physicians and clinics to distribute to patients. Samples used by their expiry dates do not pose a waste problem and may even reduce waste by allowing patients to try a new medication that they receive in a small quantity before filling a full prescription.

Samples that expire onsite, however, must be managed as waste. This can be time consuming and expensive. In the worst cases, though this is not a common practice, pharmaceutical manufacturers have unloaded soon-to-expire samples onto clinics to avoid managing the drugs as waste. This webinar will explore potential opportunities to reduce sample waste.

Presenters: Kate Hagemann, Associate for Policy and Programs, Product Stewardship Institute

Expert Panelists:

  • Catherine Zimmer, MS, BSMT, Industry Leader, Environmental and Regulatory, PSC Healthcare Services
  • Julie Granilo, Director of Outreach - Dispensary of Hope
  • Dan Simpson, Chief Development Officer - Dispensary of Hope

PowerPoint Presentation

Listen to the recorded webinar

Questions? Contact Erin Linsky Graeber, PSI's Senior Associate of Outreach and Communications at 617-236-4866 or

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Fulton County D.S.W.

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Pinellas County, FL

"Excellent program and I look forward to participating in the future."
John Malter
Mad River Solid Waste Alliance