MedSafe collection bins installed for old, unused meds

In an effort to help in the fight against the growing opioid abuse problem in the state of Iowa and the U.S., UI Hospitals and Clinics Department of Pharmaceutical Care has implemented the use of MedSafe® collection bins in outpatient pharmacy locations. The MedSafe bins will be used to collect and take back unused controlled substances prescribed for patients. UI Hospitals and Clinics is the first hospital in Iowa to purchase and install MedSafe collection bins.

The MedSafe bins are reserved for the disposal of controlled substance medications in schedules II, III, IV, and V. Non-controlled substances and over-the-counter medicines should be disposed of in the TakeAway™ boxes located within the outpatient pharmacies. Items not allowed in MedSafe include schedule 1 controlled substances, needles, lancets, liquids of more than 4 ounces, illicit or illegal substances, etc. The sign located on the MedSafe outlines what is and is not allowed to be disposed of in the bin.

MedSafe bins are only to be used for the collection of medications from a patient or their legal representative. A patient (or legal representative) must place items in MedSafe; staff should never place items into the bin on behalf of the patient. Prescription medications do not need to have originated from UI Hospitals and Clinics.

MedSafe must not be used by clinicians or researchers within UI Health Care to dispose of controlled substances. Disposal of controlled substances for these activities must follow the process outlined in the Controlled Substance policy (MM.7-4). The SmartSink disposal system, located in Central Pharmacy (7BT), can be used for the disposal of patient-specific controlled substances left behind from an inpatient stay or clinic visit and cannot be returned to the patient (CS-NP005 and N-08.100).

MedSafe locations:

  • Discharge Pharmacy (Main Entrance, Level 1), the only location accessible 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • General Hospital Pharmacy (Elevator C, Level 1)
  • Level 2 Pomerantz Pharmacy (Elevator L, Level 2)
  • Lower Level Pomerantz Pharmacy (Elevator L, Lower Level)

Additional details about UI Health Care pharmacy locations can be found at uihc.org/pharmacy-locations.

Please contact Lisa Mascardo (lisa-mascardo@uiowa.edu) in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care with questions.

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