As of February 1, 2016, USP General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings is available as part of the First Supplement to USP 39—NF 34. Notably, the USP Expert Committee approved a delayed official implementation date of July 1, 2018 to allow entities additional time to implement the standard. While many may be breathing a sigh of relief at this delay, here at PP&P, we see it as a bona fide head start.
As pharmacists first, and managers second, a great many of you have been well aware of the importance of stringent hazardous medication management for some time. Whether you have seen first hand the cruel effects of years of exposure to hazardous drugs, or simply understand the science and are conscientious about the safety and well being of yourself and your fellow employees, this need is laid bare.
The tenets set forth in USP <800> are intended to provide the same levels of safety sought for patients (and espoused as the governing mandate of health care) to the people who deliver that safety. With this in mind, there is no reason to put off until tomorrow what can be accomplished today. Depending on multiple factors, including whether the pharmacy is USP <797>-compliant, adopting USP <800> will take some time. Although the chapter may not become enforceable until 2018, there is no reason not to start your transformation today.
To acquire the official version of USP General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings, go to: www.usp.org and order the compendium today.
It is our hope at PP&P that all pharmacy directors simply begin by reading this new chapter. Perhaps determine where you stand in accordance with the concepts therein and consider the health and safety of your most valuable assets—your staff—as impetus to take advantage of this head start. If you have any questions or concerns regarding USP <800> that you would like us to address, please drop us a note. As always, we plan to be here to help along the way.
All the best,
R. Mitchell Halvorsen
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