Have you done a hazardous waste determination on your waste?
Healthcare pharmaceutical waste collection, management and disposal have come under state and federal scrutiny over the past several years. As with other generated wastes, it is essential that a hazardous waste determination be conducted on your institutions pharmacy formulary to identify the hazardous items required for collection. Waste determinations are not easy and it is not uncommon to see pharmacy formularies consisting of 1,500 0 3,500 items; the entire process can be quite cumbersome. It is important to have a knowledgeable party that understands hazardous waste regulations assist in the waste determination process and it helps if they have conducted a hazardous pharmaceutical waste determination in the past.
Remember that if a waste meets or exceeds a state and/or federal hazardous waste definition it must be collected, managed and disposed of as a hazardous waste by regulation. Some pharmaceutical wastes exhibit a certain characteristic, others have been specifically called out in the regulations as a hazardous waste in its unused form and even some empty acutely hazardous wastes requires to have empty containers collected.
In many cases it may not be as simple as looking at a particular medication’s name to determine whether or not it should be classified as hazardous. There are many components to today’s pharmaceuticals and more often than not some research is needed on a particular product.
These wastes are generated in not only the pharmacy, but also patient care units throughout hospitals. Assure that your institution has completed its hazardous pharmaceutical waste determination appropriately and that you are ready in the event of a state or federal inspection.