Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) has launched the Vet-Med Disposal Campaign to help veterinarians, farmers, and pet owners dispose of medicines safely.

A study by Griffith University concluded that many households don’t properly store or dispose of old medicines, creating risks for accidental ingestion by children and pets or decreased efficacy.

Ben Stapley, Executive Director of AMA, said greater consumer awareness of the risks of keeping expired medicines on the farm or at home is needed.

“Disposing of old, expired and unused medicines responsibly, whether for your human or animal family members, is essential to safeguarding your health and to protect the environment.

“There are several easy ways pet owners and farmers can safely and responsibly dispose of unwanted and old medicines. The Return Unwanted Medicines Project (the RUM Project) provides an easy, free avenue to clean out your kitchen, pantry and bathroom drawers.”

Stapley said to first read the labels on all those unused medicines and consider if your pet still needs them.

“Check the expiry date then place all unneeded meds in a bag or container for safe transport and return them to your local pharmacy, where your pharmacist will put them in a secure bin for disposal.”

Stapley also warned that keeping expired vet meds in the farm or on-farm for possible DIY diagnosis later is never a good idea.

“Self-diagnosing your pet, unless you are a trained veterinarian, can delay vital medical treatment your pet may need. Similarly, using expired animal medicines may be ineffectual or even dangerous so if you have a sick animal, always consult your vet. And when it comes to those old veterinary medicines lying about the place, a good rule of thumb is if in doubt, dispose of it responsibly.”

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