Sharps Compliance Offers Hope On Earth Day For De-Fusing An Environmental Time Bomb: Medical Waste And Unused Medication Disposal

Sharps Compliance Corp. (NASDAQ: SMED) offers hope for de-fusing a hidden environmental time bomb ticking away in America: the safe disposal of unused medication, used syringes, needles and other medical waste generated by self-injectors, home healthcare patients, assisted living and long-term care facilities as well as professional offices such as doctors, dentists, vets and clinics.

“While medical waste disposal at hospitals and other healthcare facilities is highly regulated, medical waste outside of that setting has been largely unregulated for years,” states David P. Tusa, CEO and President of Sharps Compliance. “It is amazing that we as a country regulate the disposal of car batteries, oil and tires but not something much more dangerous like used syringes--which if stuck could cause life threatening illnesses.”

The environmental consequences, economic costs and health risks of improper medical waste disposal are immense. Needles and syringes wash up on our beaches and needlestick injuries can create risk of exposure to hepatitis and HIV infection. An estimated 3 billion needles are generated outside of the hospital setting each year and up to 800,000 people are stuck by improperly discarded syringes annually, exposing them to the potential threat of disease or infection.

Of the almost four billion prescriptions written in the U.S. annually, up to 40 percent of dispensed pharmaceuticals outside the hospital setting go unused, generating more than 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste.

When unused or old meds are flushed down the sink or toilet they can contribute to contaminated water supplies. Pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and other substances can be found in the majority of groundwater streams and in the drinking water of more than 40 million Americans. Even a common drug like aspirin can be harmful if used long after it has expired. The chemical name for aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. Very old aspirin can break down into salicylic acid and thus cause irritation of the stomach. Salicylic acid is used topically for numerous skin conditions including removing warts!

“Improper disposal of unused medications not only pollute our drinking water when discarded by flushing into sewer systems but also contribute to accidental overdose which is one of the leading causes of deaths by teenagers in our country,” Tusa added.

Sharps Compliance offers two environmentally responsible solutions:

The Sharps Compliance Mailback Recovery System is used for the proper disposal of needles, syringes, and other small quantities of bio hazardous waste. It's the perfect disposal solution for individuals who self-inject, or medical facilities generating small quantities of medical waste. The Sharps Compliance waste conversion process uses a patent-pending, environmentally sound technology to repurpose medical waste into safe, useful industrial materials that cut the volume of landfill use by 100 percent.

The Sharps Compliance TakeAway Environmental Return System™ provides a safe, easy way to dispose of unwanted or expired medications by mailing them via the United States Postal Service-approved TakeAway envelope to the Sharps Compliance treatment facility. Patients may also drop-off the unwanted or unused medications at a nearby participating pharmacy. There are currently over 16,000 retail pharmacies that offer the TakeAway envelope solution. Additionally, over 2,000 community and independent pharmacies offer drop-off programs.

Sharps Compliance solutions are responsible for removing more than 600 million potentially harmful syringes from the solid waste stream, and have kept an estimated 90,000 pounds of unused medications from the water system and medicine cabinets,” Tusa continues. “We encourage people to change their medical waste and unused medication disposal behavior on Earth Day and every day.”

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Sharps Compliance is a leading provider of cost-effective management solutions for medical waste and unused patient pharmaceuticals generated outside the hospital and large healthcare setting. The Company’s flagship product, the Sharps® Recovery System™ (formerly Sharps Disposal by Mail System®), is a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for the containment, transportation, treatment and tracking of medical waste generated outside the hospital and large health care facility setting.

The Sharps TakeAway™ Environmental Return System™ is designed for individual consumers (through retail pharmacies), retail or mail-order pharmacies, communities and facilities including assisted living, long-term care and correction operations to facilitate the proper disposal of unused dispensed medications. This system specifically excludes controlled drugs.

Sharps Compliance serves self-injectors, doctors, clinics, dentists, veterinarians, tattoo facilities, home healthcare, assisted living facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government agencies, pharmacies, and retail, commercial, and hospitality markets. www.sharpsinc.com 1-800-772-5657.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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