As part of this year’s ASHP Summer meeting on pharmacy practice policy, Patti Kienle and Eric Kastango gave an insightful presentation on the impact of the forthcoming USP Chapter <800>: Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings. This included summarizing chapter requirements and laying the groundwork for developing an action plan to prioritize certain aspects of USP <800>. In addition to gaining structural and technical proficiency, pharmacies also must prepare financially.
In order to comply with USP <800> (or USP <797> for that matter), pharmacies of all sizes should expect to embrace technologies, which enable pharmacists to exercise their competence and work toward the elimination of risks related to hazardous materials handling.
We all are aware of the concept of out of sight, out of mind, and many practitioners may be applying this concept to USP <800>. But as the public comment period has recently ended, and the chapter is now being further refined, it will, most certainly, make its debut before many facilities are ready for it. According to Kienle, “There is a lot of support for extending the usual 6-month window (between official publication and actual enforcement), but the decision as to what that time period will be has yet to be made.” Given that many facilities likely will require facility changes to achieve compliance with USP <800>, the hope for a longer compliance window appears to be widespread. Although many pharmacy directors want to see a final version of the chapter before making substantial changes to operations or workflow, it does make sense to begin budgeting for those changes now.
There is no value in ignoring the inevitable, and procrastination is never the answer. Although further substantive materials may be required before a hospital administration approves a budget to accommodate USP <800>, it is always helpful to prepare all parties for what is coming.
All the best,
R. Mitchell Halvorsen
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