Be an HD Safe Handling Champion

July 2018 - Vol.15 No. 7 - Page #1
Categories: Chemotherapy Transfer Devices, Closed System Drug-Transfer Devices (CSTDs)
Safe hazardous drug (HD) management requires rigorous and continuous attention, but great strides can be taken to achieve best practices, and Pharmacy Purchasing & Products is here to help. This month’s supplement features expert information on safe handling of HDs, including a valuable update on proposed changes to the list of HDs from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Tom Connor, a preeminent authority on safe handling who has played an intrinsic role in improving the quality of life of health care workers, provides insight into the latest developments in this vital area of clinical pharmacy practice (see page S1).

Working for NIOSH since 2001, Tom is the lead author on the Alert: Preventing
Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs
, along with numerous other related documents. In 2008, he received the ASHP Board of Directors’ Award of Honor recognizing his decades-long research into the protection of health care workers from HD exposures, and in 2010, he received the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners’ Achievement Award for his role in helping to develop international safe handling guidelines for HDs. We are proud to have worked with Tom many times over the years. He remains a steadfast champion of safe working conditions in the vital practice of HD therapy management.

With Tom’s work and dedication in mind, we invite you to take a moment to benchmark your HD handling practices against those of other facilities nationwide using the results from our USP <800> survey (see page S8).

As cancer care continues to evolve and medications become more targeted, pharmacy must take the initiative to ensure the safety of both staff and caregivers who administer therapy. Drugs such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that display a broad spectrum of adverse effects, from relatively minor skin and hair issues to significantly compromised reproductive health, must be managed such that potential exposure over time does not pose undue risk. In this vein, consider sending patients home with a locked medication box to store oral chemotherapy. There are real risks of exposure outside of the health care setting as these medications move into the community, so pharmacy must step up and help expand the culture of safety through education and safe management of oral chemotherapy in patients’ homes.

All the best,

R. Mitchell Halvorsen
Publisher

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