A leading Israeli medical organisation has won a prize for environmental protection from the International Public Relations Association.
Representatives of Maccabi Healthcare Services received their Golden World Award in London on Friday for a campaign to collect medicines beyond their expiry date.
Since the launch of the initiative 18 months ago, around 240,000 packages containing seven million pills have been collected from Maccabi community clinics around Israel.
Ido Hadari, Maccabi’s director of communications and governmental affairs, said: “More than 350 projects from 42 countries entered the public relations campaign competition, among them Microsoft, Gillette, Proctor and Gamble and the State of Queensland in Australia.”
The organisation, which provides medical care to 1.8 million Israelis – a quarter of the population - was the first in Israel to arrange the collection and safe disposal of old medicines at its own expense.
If drugs are simply dumped in bins and taken to refuse tips, they can be a hazard if they seep into groundwater.
Mr Hadari said: “Maccabi is a non-profit organisation and the campaign did not focus on improving our image or increasing sales. We were able to create a public act for the good of the environment.”