Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board on Thursday destroyed 65,000 kilogrammes of unused and expired drugs.
The medicines were collected by the pharmaceutical agency in the last one year in a drive meant to sensitise Kenyans on safe disposal of unused and expired drugs.
The incineration of the antibiotics, anti-malarial and other medicines was supervised by the society's chairman Paul Mwaniki and the board's Nairobi branch's inspector of drugs Simon Lolgisoi.
Dr Mwaniki said 70 per cent of the consignment was collected from counties while the rest was sourced from private institutions, including pharmacies and people's homes through the medicine take-back programme.
"We had received 55 tonnes by yesterday but 10 more were delivered at the site of the incineration," Dr Mwaniki said, adding that the organisation did not know that the country could have such a huge amount of expired drugs.
"Our national estimation was set at one tonne for public and private institutions," he said.
Increasing disease prevalence necessitates health practitioners to prescribe and dispense different drugs to patients who often are not able to use all because of adverse effects, alteration of dosage, feeling healthy, medicines reaching their expiry date and other reasons.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of medication is inappropriately prescribed and sold, leading to unnecessary storage and creating an environmental hazard.
Non-adherence to medication can also cause storage of leftover drugs at home, which WHO estimates to be at 50 per cent of patients.
It is, therefore, almost guaranteed that families and patients are in possession of unused or expired drugs.
Whereas Dr Mwaniki could not give a market value for the destroyed medicines as they had already expired, he estimated that it would cost around Sh1.5 million (which is equivalent to Sh20 per kilo) to incinerate the consignment.
"County governments do not have policies on disposal of drugs. We'll work with the Council of Governors to ensure drugs are disposed of in an ethical and safe manner," he said.