Making Medication Disposal Easier
Touro College of Pharmacy Alumnus Launches App Locating Disposal Sites
A Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) alumnus wants to change the way unused and expired medications are disposed of.
Dennis Omandi, a member of TCOP’s class of 2014, developed Mediloc, an app for mobile devices that locates safe medication disposal sites based on a user’s zip code.
“As pharmacists, it’s in the best interest of our patients to ensure that they can dispose of their unneeded and expired medications as easily and safely as possible,” said Omandi. “There are so many reasons to be careful with your medications. Putting your expired medications in the garbage is harmful to the environment. Keeping expired medications around also makes it more likely that you will take the wrong kind of medicine.”
He also cited the current opioid crisis as a factor in the app’s development.
“As a pharmacist, I hear a lot of stories about the opioid crisis and how many people’s first interaction with opioids comes because they find some unused opioid-based medication lying around.”
The app also tells users whether the safe medication disposal site is full or still accepting medications.
“I can’t tell you how many people come to our pharmacy every day and get turned away because our medication disposal bin is full,” added Omandi. “Patients feel frustrated because they don’t know which locations offer this service. They have to drive around from pharmacy to pharmacy to find if they can dispose of their unused medications.”
Omandi said that developing the app tied into the reason why he chose a career in pharmacy.
“I was motivated to attend pharmacy school because I wanted to give back to my community,” said Omandi, who moved to the United States from Kenya in 2001. “In Africa there’s a lot of poverty and corruption and a lot of people don’t have access to basic needs, like water and medication. That tends to push you into a field where you can help others, like healthcare.”
Omandi entered TCOP after attaining his bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey.
“I liked how small the classes were at TCOP,” recalled Omandi. “I formed a lot of good relationships with my peers while we studied for tests at the nearby Starbucks.”
After graduating, Omandi moved to Texas for a position as a staff pharmacist at Walgreen’s Pharmacy.
“I love being a pharmacist,” said Omandi. “Your patients come to trust you to have answers to their questions, whether it’s about dosage changes or medication recalls. You form meaningful connections with your patients. Whenever I get a compliment about my work, I credit TCOP. They made me who I am.”
The app is available in Apple’s Appstore and on Google Play.