Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threat

RegenceRx Supports The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Nationwide Prescription “Drug Take-Back Day”

(Portland, Oregon) -- In a nationwide effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, RegenceRx is supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 30.

“Unused or expired medications pose safety risks to our members and their families that they may not be aware of. RegenceRx is participating in Drug Take-Back Day to help increase awareness of these dangers and encourage members to protect themselves and their families by disposing of unwanted, unused or expired medications on a regular basis,” said Helen Sherman, Pharm. D., chief pharmacy officer for RegenceRx.

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined. The Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. In addition, it’s advised that usual methods of disposing unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.

This year on April 30, the DEA will have more than 5,100 locations across the nation available for the public to dispose unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. For more information and to find a collection site near you, visit www.dea.gov, click on “Got Drugs?” and enter your zip code.

During its inaugural National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in September 2010, the DEA collected more than 121 tons of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 collection sites across the country.

RegenceRx is the pharmacy benefit manager for Regence, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region. The PBM already has numerous clinical programs in place to help manage use of potentially dangerous medications, including narcotic painkillers and their award-winning sleep medication program. They are encouraging members to take advantage of Drug Take Back Day as an opportunity to make medication safety a regular and important part of their overall health and safety.

“Many do not know that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. Unused prescription medicines that remain in homes can be misused or abused if they get in the wrong hands of children, family or friends,” said Allan Korn, M.D., BCBSA senior vice president and chief medical officer. “BCBSA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide are leading efforts to increase patient safety and make it a healthcare priority and we commend the DEA’s efforts of providing a safe and easy way for Americans to drop off their unnecessary prescription drugs.”

About RegenceRx
In 2000, the continuously rising cost of prescription drugs caused Regence to create its own in-house Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) function for its four affiliate Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plans. The mission of RegenceRx is to ensure that members have affordable coverage for prescription medications. The PBM is distinguished by its focus on clinical evidence to build its list of preferred medications. Since the formation of RegenceRx, the cost of managing drug benefits has dropped. Dollars gained through the use of RegenceRx are used to help keep the cost of health coverage as low as possible, and the focus of RegenceRx on lower net costs has saved Regence and its customers more than $1billion since 2000.