Change is the constant marking pharmaceutical waste management for 2014, with new regulations from the DEA and NIOSH released in September. These regulations aim to simplify and clarify the requirements surrounding controlled substances and hazardous drugs; a timely endeavor given that pharmacy’s biggest challenges in achieving compliant waste management continue to be the handling of these two drug classes.
To understand how pharmacy responds to the complexity of waste management regulations, PP&P polled a random, nationwide sample of health system pharmacy directors in the third quarter of 2014. This is the seventh year we have conducted this poll. Responses were submitted via email, with pharmacy directors from 392 facilities responding, yielding a confidence interval of 4.78% (95% +/-4.78) based on the total population of pharmacy directors nationwide.
With growing numbers of regulatory inspections focused on waste, pharmacy is investing more resources in waste handling, from increasing budgets and purchasing RCRA-hazardous containers to implementing committees focused on managing RCRA hazardous waste. Overall compliance is improving as a result of this additional focus, with advancements in how products such as morphine sulfate and barium contrast are disposed. Nevertheless, the complexity of the regulations and the challenges inherent in providing thorough training to staff remain roadblocks to achieving full compliance.
Pharmacy has responded with a strong interest in purchasing products that ease the disposal process. Going forward, we will be watching closely to see how these changing regulatory requirements impact waste management processes in hospital pharmacy.
Click here to download the Waste Management Survey Results.
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