Primary Care and Environmental Issues: Unused Medicines and Health Community Agent Intervention in the South of Brazil

Andre Preissler Loureiro Chaves1, *, #, Jamile Machado Hallam2, Louise Marguerite Jeanty de Seixas3
1 Post Graduate Program in Public Health, ULBRA University, Brazil
2 Environmental Engineer, ULBRA University, Brazil
3 UFRGS University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Brazil

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Creative Commons License
Chaves et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Conde de Porto Alegre Sreet, 550, apt.1801. Porto Alegre, RS, CEP: 90220210, Brazil; Tel: +55 51 3462.9568; Fax: +55 51 3477.1313; E-mail: author is currently a visiting researcher at the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK


Current Brazilian law does not provide appropriate legislation governing waste resulting from unused medication, which presents a growing public health threat. Studies that have considered these issues are incomplete, classifying unused medication as a remnant of healthcare and ignoring the user, who has the largest role in generating this type of waste. Users do not possess sufficient knowledge regarding the issue or their responsibilities with respect to environmentally appropriate disposal. The main objective of this study was to create a reverse logistics medication channel in a model experiment involving health community agents working in Family Health Strategy teams in Vila Bras, São Leopoldo, Brazil. The community health agents were trained in the appropriate disposal of unused medication and conveyed details of the basic disposal guidelines to the residents of the area served by the teams. The community health agents’ activities served a proactive reverse logistics channel, which had vast potential, as the prevention of inappropriate disposal of unused medication increased exponentially.

Keywords: Community health agents, drug contamination, health residue management, medication desuetude, medication in the environment, reverse logistics.