NONTHABURI, July 9 – More than 36 million unused or outdated tablets, worth over Bt40 million, were returned to health officials nationwide under the ‘eggs-for-expired pills’ campaign which proved successful, Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri announced on Monday.
The public health ministry held the five-day campaign from July 2-6 to encourage residents countrywide to return old, expired tablets to 10,000 sub-district hospitals by using eggs as an incentive in exchange for the medicines.
Mr Witthaya said that the scheme was well received beyond expectation by the public with over 36 million pills returned. Most of the medicines were diabetes pills, followed by high blood pressure medications and those for reducing cholesterol in the blood.
The top three categories of the returned pills were valued at some Bt40 million while the rest of the returned medicines, about 17 million pills, were identified as antibiotics, drugs for relieving pain and reducing fever as well as drugs for curing chronic diseases.
The minister said that all the returned medicines will be incinerated on Friday at Bang Pa-In Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya province.
As for the capital, the ministry planned to run the programme from July 23-26 at nine Bangkok hospitals under the public health ministry, department stores and Skytrain stations.
Following the campaign results, Mr Witthaya said that the relevant agencies may have to improve drug packaging systems to prevent deterioration in drug quality.
Meanwhile, Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon affirmed that all the returned pills will be completely destroyed and will not be reused for other patients.
Regarding the top three categories of the returned pills–related to diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood, the deputy minister pointed out that this showed that a large number of Thai people suffer from these diseases.
As the patients did not take the pills continuously as prescribed, this caused ineffective treatment, and the problems of using medicines unnecessarily.
He advised people suffering from chronic diseases to meet doctors as appointed and to bring the medications which were prescribed previously to show the doctor for appropriate new prescriptions.