Emergence of an Information Infrastructure through Integrating Waste Drug Recycling, Medication Management, and Household Drug Management in China

AbstractThe total amount of waste drugs is expanding significantly as populations age and societies become wealthier. Drug waste is becoming a problem for health and environment. Thus, how to reduce and effectively dispose of waste drugs is increasingly becoming an issue for society. In this paper, we analyze the current situation with regard to existing systems for expired drug recycling and disposal in China and suggest that by connecting the involved practices of waste drug recycling, medication management, and household drug management the incentives to participate in an integrated drug recycling system can be dramatically increased for all involved actors. This is important from an IS perspective because such connecting of practices could account for a novel mechanism of information infrastructure emergence, known from physics as ‘state transition’. By contrast, the current literature focuses on the development of information infrastructures through growth at the periphery, mostly driven by user activity and enabled by modular and flexible designs. Our approach could explain the de-novo emergence of an information infrastructure.


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