search for


Current Status Analysis of Unused and Expired Medication Collected at Pharmacies in the Republic of Korea through Practical Calculation of Their Quantity and Cost
Yakhak Hoeji 2019;63(3):144-151
Published online June 30, 2019
© 2019 The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea.

Minyoung Kim*, Hyun-Gyu Choi*,**, and Yeonhwa Mo*,***,#

*HB Plus Korea Research Institute, **School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, ***College of Pharmacy, Ewha Womans University
Correspondence to: #Yeonhwa Mo, College of Pharmacy, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Republic of Korea Tel: +82-2-6337-5398, Fax: +82-504-982-5398 E-mail:
Received February 27, 2019; Revised May 21, 2019; Accepted May 22, 2019.
Unused and expired medications (UEM) are increasing over time, and economic impact of UEM cannot be overlooked anymore. Health insurance finances are limited and this means generation of UEM is pharmaceutical and economical waste. Disposal cost of these also will be increasing. But until now there was no research data to determine the economic loss due to UEM in terms of cost in the Republic of Korea. This study attempted to calculate the cost of the UEM and estimate the degree of economic waste. And tried to discuss what the pharmacist could do to reduce the generation of the UEM. The UEM collection period was 3 months, from August to October 2016. A total of 10 pharmacies of nationwide joined this study. Each collected UEM was separated by kind, generic name, therapeutic group, medicinal product classification (prescription or non-prescription medicine, health functional foods, etc.), dosage form, route of administration, quantity, and finally their prices were calculated. The highest portion of drug groups was prescription medicines, which made up 89.4%. The average cost for one customer who brought UEM was calculated as 64,961 won for 11 items and 243 pills. In terms of the cost ratio, the prescription medicines were the highest at 90.6%. Gastrointestinal medicines were disposed of the most among the therapeutic groups; they were highest among all number of items, pills and costs. This study has significance in that it is the first study measuring and calculating the practical quantity and cost of UEM in Republic of Korea. Based on these results, it is time to consider ways to curb the generation of UEM, including pharmacist intervention.
Keywords : unused medication, expired medication, medication disposal, medication cost, medication take-back program

August 2019, 63 (4)
Full Text(PDF) Free

Social Network Service

Cited By Articles
  • CrossRef (0)