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Abstract

There has been increasing concern about the environmental impact of pharmaceutical accumulation in surface and groundwater over the last two decades. Several states in the U.S. have implemented medicine take-back programs to help mitigate problems associated with unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals in households. States bordering the Great Lakes have particularly been concerned about this issue. This study assessed the value of a pharmaceutical collection program based on the willingness to pay per prescription and willingness to pay per visit of current and potential participants of the program in the Great Lakes area. We found that 60 % of the population is willing to participate in a collection program, while 40 % is willing to pay to participate in the program. The estimated unconditional mean WTP from a Double Hurdle Model is $0.53 per prescription and $1.03 per visit; and with the conditional mean willingness to pay, $1.25 per prescription and $2.33 per visit. Total annual benefits for such programs given the number of households in the area are estimated to be $20.1 million when considering WTP per prescription, and $18.9 million for a single drop-off per year when considering WTP per visit. This information will help better inform program providers, researchers, policymakers, advocates and other interested parties.

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