HOWEVER good the intention may be, donating expired medicine may cause far more problems than it solves ("Some donated items 'of no use' to survivors"; Thursday).
Although donors' intentions are often unquestionable, the mindset of "anything is better than nothing" should not apply.
Donors should apply this simple test: If the quality of the donated item is not suitable for oneself, then it is unsuitable for the recipient.
Donors should also avoid donating free medical samples collected from health professionals and marketers, because what stricken countries require is proven medicine and not drugs on trial.
The cost and effort spent on management and disposal of improper donations are not the only burdens brought by unwanted medication.
There are long-term negative consequences of the uncontrolled influx of donations to a country if these items are accidentally shipped.
The Health Sciences Authority should encourage the proper disposal of unused and expired medicine, through education and awareness programmes.
Expired medicine should never be allowed to reach other countries as relief supplies.
This article was first published on May 9, 2015.
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