February 16th, 2021

// Manitoba launches safe, simple way to dispose of medical sharps

Manitoba launches safe, simple way to dispose of medical sharps

OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 16, 2021 /CNW/ - Manitobans who use needles or sharps as part of their medical care can now safely dispose of these products using specially designed containers available free at their local pharmacy. Examples of sharps include lancets that prick the skin for diabetes testing, needles for home insulin or B12 injections and auto-injection devices, such as EpiPens.

The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) officially launched the Manitoba Sharps Collection Program on January 15, shortly after its approval by the province's Ministry of Conservation and Climate. The program fulfills regulations that call for province-wide, convenient collection systems for waste material at no cost to users, as set out in the Waste Reduction and Prevention Act. Costs for the Sharps Collection Program are covered by medical sharps manufacturers.

Manitoba is the third province in Canada to regulate the safe disposal of used medical sharps, joining Ontario and P.E.I. HPSA operates all three sharps collection programs.

HPSA is not new to Manitoba: since 2011, residents have been able to safely dispose of unused or expired medications through the organization's Medications Return Program. HPSA medication return programs are also available in B.C., Ontario and P.E.I.

"The safe disposal of sharps and medications is critical to help fulfill governments' goals for environmental stewardship and public safety," says Terri Drover, Director-General of HPSA. "HPSA provides a consistent framework that can be rolled out across provinces as regulations are put in place, at no cost to consumers, government or participating pharmacies."

Pharmacies are the linchpin of the process, working with HPSA to distribute the medical sharps containers to customers and then taking back the full containers as well as unused or expired medications. In all provinces where HPSA programs are available, pharmacies' participation rates are high. Weeks before Manitoba's Sharps Collection Program officially launched, 85% of the pharmacies licensed in Manitoba had already registered and begun to distribute the sharps containers.

"Community pharmacies are some of the most easily accessed healthcare facilities throughout the province, making them an ideal place for the safe disposal of medications, needles and sharps," says Wendy Clark, President of the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, which regulates pharmacy professionals on behalf of the public. "We know that pharmacists possess the skill, knowledge and judgement needed to help Manitobans with many of their daily health needs." 

The province's advocacy body for pharmacists, Pharmacists Manitoba, also gives its support. "Pharmacists Manitoba is pleased to support the Health Products Stewardship Association's Manitoba Sharps Collection Program. By allowing Manitobans to return their used sharps to their participating community pharmacies, the program helps ensure they are disposed of properly, without harm to the environment, and it prevents people from being injured," says Pawandeep Sidhu, President of Pharmacists Manitoba.

Residents can find participating pharmacies using HPSA's locator app at www.healthsteward.ca. For the Sharps Collection Program, Manitobans can use the HPSA sharps container or any other approved medical sharps container. Pharmacies can also register online at the website.

About Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA)

HPSA is a not-for-profit, industry-led, producer responsibility organization established in 1999 to provide health products industries with a collective means for managing their extended producer responsibility (EPR) obligations under regulated programs in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. HPSA and the programs it administers are funded entirely by participating health products industries. 

About the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba

The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (College) was established in 1878 and is the pharmacy regulatory and licensing authority in Manitoba. The principal mandate of the College is to protect the health and well-being of the public by ensuring and promoting safe, patient-centered and progressive pharmacy practice in collaboration with other healthcare providers.

About Pharmacist Manitoba

Pharmacists Manitoba is a not for profit, voluntary organization representing pharmacists in the Province of Manitoba. Our mission is to enhance the recognition and compensation of pharmacists, to enable full use of their knowledge, skill and judgement and expand Manitobans' access to health care. 


SOURCE Health Products Stewardship Association


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