Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal and Management

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal and Management

Essential Tips for Proper Drug Management and Disposal Procedures

A number of agencies are directly concerned with the management and disposal of pharmaceutical products in medical facilities. This includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, DEA, EPA and the US Food and Drug Administration. Each agency has established guidelines that help to manage pharmaceutical waste disposal that you should be made aware of.

Following these tips should help in navigating through the various rules and regulations regarding drug disposal:

  • Know which federal and state regulations apply to your facility. California regulations are stricter than most federal, so you will want to work closely with a medical waste disposal company that is licensed in the state. They will keep you up to speed on which regulations you need to be paying attention to.
  • Standardize your procedures to meet all government agency requirements pertaining to pharmaceutical waste disposal. This will help in protecting your hospital or medical office from any liability.
  • In order to better protect the community, make sure that you and your staff are aware of any drugs in your facility that are considered a controlled substance. Make sure that these are stored in a secure location that is not accessible by any unauthorized personnel.
  • The EPA has a vested interest in keeping certain drugs from entering the drinking water supply. Stay current on the list of these drugs and make sure that when disposed of, your facility is using separate containers that will be handled exclusively by a properly licensed medical waste disposal company.
  • If your medical facility deals in high quantities of certain drugs, consult with a medical waste disposal company about their proper disposal.
  • Keep careful records and dispose of expired drugs appropriately. An expired pharmaceutical can still be dangerous, both to the environment and your community. Make records of expiration dates and dispose of unusable drugs immediately in accordance with the regulations.
  • Even spilled or contaminated medications need to be disposed of with care. Make sure that all of your employees are trained to know how to effectively clean a liquid medication spill or dispose of tablets that have been contaminated.
  • Prepared medications that are not used in their entirety should be treated as a pharmaceutical and disposed of in the same way as other medicines and drugs. This includes any left over IV solutions or partially injected medications in a syringe.
  • Warfarin, nicotine, arsenic trioxide and physostigmine are drugs that the EPA has deemed require special attention, down to their packaging. If your facility dispenses any of these pharmaceuticals make sure that you and all staff members know the implications.

Pharmaceutical waste disposal in a medical setting is a major concern for all. Avoid problems with any number of government agencies by understanding the procedures your facility needs to follow, and partnering with a responsible medical waste disposal firm who can assist in making sure that you are complying with the myriad of regulations.

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