Walgreens has announced it is joining the Sustainable Medicines Partnership (SMP) as a founding sponsor of the initiative, which aims to collaborate and execute on projects to make the use of medicines more sustainable and less wasteful.
Through its multi-stakeholder global collaboration with industry leaders such as Walgreens, the SMP is a four-year commitment to deliver evidence-based, integrated projects, including scalable solutions, frameworks, standards, metrics and implementation toolkits. Each of the integrated projects will be led according to the Partnership’s six pillars of sustainable medicines, including measurable impacts, end-to-end visibility, better shelf life, digital by default, every dose use and sustainable packaging.
“Walgreens is committed to the safe disposal of medications, and we are proud to advance those efforts through this initiative,” said Rick Gates, senior vice president, pharmacy and healthcare, Walgreens. “As a founding member of the Sustainable Medicines Partnership, we can explore ways together to provide more equitable access to medicines, reduce the environmental impact from packaging and further programs to decrease waste from medications.”
As an industry leader, Walgreens will serve as part of the SMP steering committee, approving measurable outcomes and impacts defined by the Partnership and in support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In joining the SMP, Walgreens will work alongside several other industries and organizations, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, policy makers, patient groups, academia and other stakeholders. Together, member organizations will look to measure the carbon footprint of medicines and to identify opportunities for optimizing their use to reduce waste.
The SMP partnership builds on Walgreens safe medication disposal program, which first launched in 2016, and through which Walgreens has collected and properly disposed of more than 3 million pounds, or 1,550 tons, of unwanted and unused medication. Walgreens safe medication disposal kiosks, available during regular pharmacy hours, help to ensure expired or unwanted medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused and provide a convenient, no-cost solution to dispose of medications year-round.