College of Pharmacy Professor Receives Sub-contract to Help Develop Prescription Drug Deactivation System


ATLANTA – Dr. Ajay Banga, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Mercer University's College of Pharmacy, has been awarded a sub-contract for a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Banga received the sub-contract in the amount of $262,013 to support the continued development of Medsaway®, a novel system that provides prescription medicine users a simple way to deactivate and contain unwanted abusable psychoactive drugs in their homes.

“I applaud Dr. Banga on receiving this sub-contract, which serves such a practical purpose in deactivating unwanted medications in our homes,” said Dr. H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of the College of Pharmacy and senior vice president of health sciences at Mercer.

The system is being developed by Verde Environmental Technologies of Burnsville, Minnesota, which received the Phase II SBIR contract in the amount of $969,648.

Disposal of unwanted medicines has emerged as a significant issue that can lead to contamination of water and soil with the active drug ingredients. While there are sometimes local take-back programs in place to collect unwanted household prescription medicines, the cost and convenience of such methods limits their success.

Verde is developing a single prescription size format of Medsaway® for disposal of unwanted psychoactive agents in their oral, liquid or transdermal dosage forms. This system would ultimately be available in pharmacies or dispensed with the prescription medicine and could be used in the convenience of one's home to deactivate the medicine prior to disposal in a landfill. As part of its contract, Verde will conduct testing and consumer feedback evaluations.

The technology would ultimately curtail the potential that such medicines could be misused at a later time and also would provide a safe and eco-friendly way to properly dispose of these medicines.

About the College of Pharmacy

Mercer University's College of Pharmacy is ranked No. 4 among pharmacy programs at private institutions in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.). Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. In 1988, the College launched its graduate program, offering the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences. The College is one of four health sciences units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center. With an enrollment today of more than 650 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College of Pharmacy houses seven centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College's motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, call (678) 547-6244 or visit