(Yicai Global) March 14 -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s healthcare unit has partnered up with several major Chinese pharmaceutical firms to set up a platform for recycling expired household drugs and has started trial operations across 17 cities in the country.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd., also known as AliHealth, has signed up several major drug firms including state-owned Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd. and traditional Chinese medicine manufacturer Beijing Tongrentang Co. for the recycling alliance, it said in a statement.
Over 80 percent of Chinese households do not routinely clean out their medicine cabinets, resulting in 15,000 tons of expired drugs annually, said AliHealth, adding that they represent a source of environmental pollution and are sometimes resold on the market through illegal traders.
Under the system, users scan a QR code on the packaging of the expired pills to call a courier to pick them up free of charge through Alibaba's logistics platform Cainiao Network Technology Co. The drugs are then taken to facilities designated by the alliance for safe disposal. AliHealth started trial operations of the system yesterday in 17 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, running until the end of the month.