Pharmaceutical waste compromises the safety of the environment and can be a serious health risk due to accumulation and non-degradation. In Ethiopia, the pharmaceutical sector is dominated by imports although a small portion of the needs are covered by local manufacturing. This is a quantitative cross sectional study regarding pharmaceutical waste management practices with respect to regulatory requirements and environmental hazards. Importers and factories in Addis Ababa and its environs are included in the assessment. The total number selected randomly is 55, 6 of which are industries while 49 are importers accounting half of such establishments in the area. Data obtained using structured questionnaires and check lists were entered in to EPI Info 7 and analyzed by SPSS 20. The result in the study showed that the establishments had generated both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. However 55 % of them are not aware of the regulatory (EFMHACA) directive about medicines waste management and disposal. Those that are aware also are non-adherent in their practice. Environmentally unfriendly ways of disposal of expired medicines namely land fill and open air burning were practiced by 46.3 % and 62.7 % of the establishments respectively. All industries except one discharge their waste directly to the effluent system. The study highlighted the presence of malpractices with regard to pharmaceutical waste management in Ethiopia. Therefore a need to train personnel in industries, importers and regulatory authorities about safe disposal of pharmaceutical wastes is urgently needed thus safe medicines waste disposal can be practiced in the country.
Key Words: Pharmaceutical waste management, Hazardous waste, Regulatory authorities, Ethiopia