Health facilities flush estimated 250 million pounds of drugs a year
AP/USA Today, September 16, 2008
U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities annually flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain, pumping contaminants into America's drinking water, according to an ongoing investigation. These discarded medications are expired, spoiled, over-prescribed or unneeded. Few of the country's 5,700 hospitals and 45,000 long-term care homes keep data on the pharmaceutical waste they generate. Based on a small sample, though, the investigation was able to project an annual national estimate of at least 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging.