Have questions about our programs or how you can participate? See below for the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) received by HPSA. If you don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us.

Consumers

HPSA currently operates in four provinces: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

The following products can be returned in the respective provinces:
  • Prescription drugs (BC, MB, ON, PEI)
  • Over-the-counter medications (BC, MB, ON, PEI)
  • Natural health products (BC, MB, ON, PEI)
  • Medical Sharps (ON, PEI)
Check here to find a participating pharmacy near you.

No. Return programs operated by HPSA are free of charge for the consumer.

- Medications-related

Any of the following items that are unused, expired or unwanted:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Natural health products

You can return your items to any participating pharmacy. Either call your local pharmacy to confirm their participation or check here for the nearest participating pharmacy.

No. While this may have been done in the past, this method may have potential harmful effects on the environment. Disposal via the toilet will take your drugs into the local sewage system where treatments plants are not fully designed to deal with the medication. The best method of disposal is to return medications to a participating pharmacy.

No. This is no better than flushing them down the toilet because they still end up in the same place. It’s even worse if your home uses a septic system. Drugs can leach into the local water table, eventually coming out somewhere, like a nearby lake or stream, or out onto your own property, where pets, livestock or wildlife could be at risk. The best method of disposal is to return medications to a participating pharmacy.

No. Safety experts strongly discourage throwing them into the trash where children or pets can find them. Your trash will eventually make it to a local landfill, where your medications could still have the potential to leach out. Many municipal or regional districts have local household waste facilities where you can safely drop off your medications for disposal. Check in your region for more information.

Not usually. The pharmacy located near your doctor’s office will probably take medication returns. Either call the pharmacy to confirm or check here to find the nearest participating pharmacy. In some First Nations it may be possible to return medications – check with your doctors office.

Empty all dry medication such as pills and tablets into a bag or container. Remove or black out any personal identification. Keep all liquids, creams and inhalers in their original packaging and remove all personal identification. Return to your local participating pharmacy.

Returned medications are picked up from participating pharmacies and sent to a licensed incineration facility for safe destruction.

- Medical Sharps-related

To ensure their safe disposal. Improper disposal puts garbage and municipal workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, children and pets at risk of being harmed by needle stick injuries.

The following items are accepted in the medical sharps return programs: infusion sets, safety pens, pens, pen needles, syringe with needles attached, lancets, needles and needle tips, pre-filled cartridges and pre-filled syringes. These items are used by individuals in their homes to inject medications by piercing the skin.

Used medical sharps should be collected in a sharp approved container available free of charge from participating pharmacies.

Biomedical sharps are treated using a high-pressure steam sterilization process (typically a commercial autoclave). Cytotoxic sharps are treated using high temperature incineration.

Pharmacists​

Becoming a collection site is voluntary. HPSA encourages pharmacists to implement effective environmental policies and procedures for all aspects of purchasing and waste management.

No. The program is free of charge for the pharmacy.

Pharmacists, on behalf of their pharmacy, must sign an agreement with HPSA and follow our guidelines. To sign up please click here or contact us at info@healthsteward.ca.

Posters and brochures can be downloaded here.

When you sign a Collection Site Standards Agreement HPSA will assign you an ID. It consists of the initial of the province (ON, BC, MB or PE) where you are located followed by your pharmacy registration (accreditation) number with the provincial college.

Once a Service and Supply Request Form is completed, a service provider in your area will get in contact with you to let you know they will provide services for you. You can also contact HPSA directly at info@healthsteward.ca or call 1-844-535-8889.

The service provider in your area will contact you and advise on the date of your next service.

Your service provider will give you the Bill of Lading when the containers are picked up from your pharmacy. HPSA recommends keeping the shipping document for a period of two years.

Producers

The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) is a not-for-profit organization representing producers of consumer health products (CHP) in Canada. HPSA was formed to fulfill the producers’ stewardship obligations in provinces with regulations that require them to ensure the safe and effective collection and disposal of unused and expired consumer health products.

Consumer Health Products (CHP) are products sold directly to the consumer and include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-Counter medications
  • Natural health products
  • Medical sharps

Medical Sharps include: infusion sets, safety pens and syringes with needles attached, lancets, needle tips, needles, pens, pen needles, pre-filled cartridges and pre-filled syringes.

You are a producer if:

  • You are the owner of or licensee of the brand or rights holder under which the affected health products are sold to consumers in provinces with regulations.
  • You are the importer of the affected health products into provinces with regulations.
  • Your products are sold to consumers under a brand name that the manufacturer owns, licenses or has rights to in provinces with regulations.

According to the provincial regulations, any producer who sells consumer health products is required to either have an individual approved plan or join an association with an approved plan.

You must complete the registration form and provide HPSA with the appropriate payment. Click here to download the membership form.

HPSA offers services to fulfill your Consumer Health Products stewardship obligations in regulated provinces. This includes providing approved plans, public education campaigns and collection programs. HPSA administers these programs to facilitate collections, management and the safe disposal of your products through participating pharmacies. On behalf of your organization, HPSA also submits Annual Reports to regulatory bodies which require them as part of the regulations.

HPSA is 100% funded by registered producers of consumer health products.

Registered producers pay an annual fee to HPSA. This fee is based on administrative charges per program and market share based on sales reported by producers.

Upon review of your yearly sales, you might only have to pay the administrative charge per program.

No. If you are a member of HPSA we will notify the provincial governments of your participation in our programs.

Yes. The HPSA stewardship program is for medications and medical sharp devices only. It is up to individual producers to ensure if you are captured under other provincial EPR regulations.