Publix Super Markets has added drug disposal kiosks at selected pharmacies in five states.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix said Monday that the drug receptacles enable customers to safely and conveniently discard expired, unused or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. The kiosks are available at Publix Pharmacy locations in Florida (105 sites), Alabama (34), Georgia (13), South Carolina (12) and Tennessee (eight).
In addition to the kiosks, Publix said all of its pharmacies are now offering free drug-disposal packets to patients who receive a less than 28-day opioid prescription and, upon request, for all other prescriptions. When combined with water in a prescription bottle, the contents of the packet inactivate the medication, and the bottle and medicine then can thrown into the trash. The packets can be used for any oral prescription medications.
Pharmacy retailers like Publix, as well as health care providers, have stepped up efforts in recent years to encourage consumers to properly dispose of medicines to prevent misuse or abuse as well as to reduce the environmental impact. Initiatives have included rollouts of drug disposal containers; pouches to mail in expired, unused or unwanted medicines for safe disposal; and drug take-back events with local law enforcement.
“We know many customers are concerned about where their unused prescriptions will end up,” Publix Vice President of Pharmacy Dain Rusk said in a statement. “These kiosks are a convenient, easy way to dispose of medicines that are no longer needed.”
In other news, Publix Pharmacy late Friday announced the availability of Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine boosters to eligible patients. The retailer opened its online reservation system for booster shots appointments starting on Saturday.
Publix said the Moderna booster is available at all of its 1,000-plus pharmacy locations, while the Pfizer booster is offered at all of its Florida pharmacies and selected locations in other states. At this time, the J&J booster shot is available in limited supply at some Publix pharmacies, the company said, adding that immunized customers can choose among Moderna, Pfizer or J&J for their booster dose regardless of the brand they received for their primary COVID vaccination, as per Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The COVID boosters are authorized for individuals ages 65 and older; ages 18 and older who live in long-term care settings; ages 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions; and ages 18 to 64 who work or live in high-risk settings, according to Publix.
Last week, Publix Pharmacy said it plans to provide bedside delivery of prescription medications to patients prior to discharge at Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice. Under the program, when the Venice, Fla., hospital opens in November, patients can elect to have their prescriptions filled and delivered to their hospital room, a free service aimed at easing the transition from hospital to home.
“Publix Pharmacy is always looking for ways to provide premier service to our customers, whether it’s inside our stores or through collaborations with local hospitals,” Rusk commented. “Providing bedside delivery to Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice will give patients the opportunity to conveniently obtain the medications they need before leaving the hospital.”
The Plaza Venezia Publix, located across the street from the new hospital on Laurel Road, will handle any necessary insurance authorizations, and then fill and deliver the order directly to the patient or the nursing unit, Publix reported. Patients can make payments upon delivery and get future refills from any Publix Pharmacy.
“The bedside delivery program helps ensure a smooth transition of care from hospital to home,” stated Sharon Roush president of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice campus. “Having prescriptions delivered directly to patients in the hospital allows them to go straight home, rather than stop at a pharmacy, which reduces the risk of delays and missing a dose at home.”
Overall, Publix operates 1,284 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.