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Global Best Practices for Drug Take-Back Programs - Webinar Recording

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Global Best Practices for Drug Take-Back Programs
Thursday, June 7, 2018 11:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT / 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CEST

Part of PSI’s Global Webinar Series: Sparking Conversations, Building Networks

While prescription drugs play a key role in improving lives, about one-third of the almost four billion prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. every year go unused and become waste. In addition, seven out of 10 Americans who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family, often from medicine cabinets. When unwanted and expired drugs are flushed or thrown in the trash, they end up in waterways and contaminating drinking water sources. Drug take-back programs provide the public with a convenient way to safely dispose of leftover medications. On this webinar, speakers from the US, Canada, France, and Sweden discuss global best practices for drug take-back programs. Speakers detail how drugs are collected and managed, public awareness and consumer convenience, program performance, lessons learned, and key challenges. Other topics include stakeholder roles, program costs, scope of products covered, and policies that created the program.


 Sponsored by:



Vivian Fuhrman, PhD

Senior Associate for Policy and Programs, Product Stewardship Institute

Dr. Vivian Fuhrman is a Senior Associate for Policy and Programs at the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) where she heads up work on safe disposal of pharmaceuticals and medical sharps. She has worked on stewardship policy, lead drug take-back pilots, run educational campaigns on safe disposal, and facilitated stakeholder meetings across the US, and increasingly across the globe. Before coming to PSI, Vivian earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Risk and Policy (focused on endocrine disrupting chemicals in the aquatic environment) from Ben Gurion University in Israel, building on a B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and a Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Vivian has spent over a decade learning and working at the intersection of science and policy, including roles as an environmental consultant, researcher, conference coordinator, and writer. Facilitating communication between groups that share a stake in waste, water, and other environmental challenges is the cornerstone of her long-term goals.


Ginette Vanasse

Director General, Health Products Stewardship Association (Canada)

Ginette Vanasse joined the Health Products Stewardship Association in 2004 and has over 20 years’ experience in the managing of not-for-profit organizations. Today the association representing the Health Products Industries oversee four medications stewardship programs and two medical sharps collection programs with a budget of over 4.6 million. In her capacity as Director General, Ginette is part of the team that has guided the development of stewardship programs in Canada. Over the years, she has focused on funding mechanism, assessing risks, internal audits and implementing business solutions to fit regulatory framework. Her professionalism, versatility, understanding of the issues and analytic ability have allow her to serve this industry.


Thierry Moreau Defarges

President, Cyclamed (France)

T. Moreau Defarges is a pharmacist with a degree in political science (IEP Paris 1974). He has a long history and extensive expertise in many functional aspects of the pharmaceutical industry including: product manager, head of operations, market access manager, vice-president in charge of health economics, pharmaceutical affairs, and law. He has worked in several international companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Cassenne, Roussel-Uclaf, Ciba-Geigy, Inava, Pierre Fabre, Janssen, Cilag, and Janssen-Cilag. Since 2007, he has been the President of Cyclamed, the association created by the pharmaceutical industry in 1994 to manage unused drugs from patients in France. Cyclamed is a non-profit organization, funded by pharmaceutical companies, which has two objectives: to protect the environment and to protect the patient. The program brings together stakeholder across the entire pharmaceutical field, including retail pharmacists, wholesale distributors, and pharmaceutical companies. 


Robert Svanström

Managing Pharmacist, Swedish Pharmacy Association (Sweden)

Robert Svanström is Chief pharmacist at the Swedish Pharmacy Association (SPA), a trade association for pharmacy operators. SPA represents nearly 100 percent of the pharmacy market in Sweden. Robert has held his position for 4,5 years. Before joining SPA, he worked at one of the first privately owned pharmacies in Sweden after the de-regulation of the pharmacy market. He advocates for the correct use of medications and is convinced that all who work in the pharmacy market can help minimize the negative impacts of drugs in our environment.


Therese Hansen

Quality and Environmental Coordinator, Apoteket (Sweden)

Therese Hansen has a deep interest in sustainability issues. She holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.Lic. degree in business administration and marketing. She has also studied environmental science and quality, and environmental management systems. Therese has been the Sustainability Coordinator of Apoteket AB since 2010. With about 400 locations, Apoteket AB is one of Sweden’s largest pharmacy chains. In 2016 and 2017, consumers ranked the company as Sweden’s most sustainable company. Therese is involved in Apoteket’s general governance and monitoring, including operational procedures for pharmaceutical take-back.


Scott Cassel (Moderator)

Chief Executive Officer, United States, Product Stewardship Institute

Scott Cassel has over 30 years of experience tackling waste management issues in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to founding the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in 2000, he served seven years as the Director of Waste Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he developed and implemented solid and hazardous waste management policies and programs. Scott is a nationally renowned leader in the product stewardship movement and has experience across multiple product categories, including electronics, lamps, thermostats, pharmaceuticals, mattresses, packaging, and paint. As PSI’s CEO, he developed the widely acclaimed facilitation process that the organization uses for stakeholder engagement and consensus-building—a process that resulted in the nation’s first industry-run, government-mandated paint stewardship program.