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The Pharmaceutical Waste Rubik’s Cube — Part 2: Dealing with the Pharmaceutical Waste Rubik’s Cube

By Posted in - Expense Reduction & Medical Waste on February 8th, 2016 0 Comments Prescription bottle full of pills with vials in background

In part one of this series, we defined the “Pharmaceutical Waste Rubik’s Cube” – now, we will identify how healthcare providers can “deal” with it by ensuring they are compliant with all federal and state regulations for disposal of medical waste while minding the cost-effectiveness of the program.

Waste Experts has identified four steps that healthcare providers, especially those with multiple locations in several states, should take when designing and evaluating a Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Program:

  1. Identify the states where there are facilities with an immediate need for a pharmaceutical waste disposal program and review the regulations for each of those states.
  2. Review pharmaceutical disposal programs from medical waste vendors to make sure they have a program for hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceuticals. A close inspection of proposed pharmaceutical waste disposal programs may reveal that they are only dealing with non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Programs must contain a disposal option for both hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceuticals, because the states that go beyond the federal regulations require that both types of pharmaceuticals be properly disposed of.
  3. Management needs to make sure facility personnel are aware that they are not to enter into separate disposal programs without corporate-level approval. This is not to say that facility personnel are not capable of implementing a disposal program, but they are so busy with day-to-day tasks, they often want the pharmaceuticals removed at ANY cost.
    • At Waste Experts, we have seen cases where facilities inadvertently entered into three-year contracts with monthly rates as high as $500 for pharmaceutical disposal service, when they should only be paying $200-$300 PER YEAR.
    • Recently, Waste Experts had a client approached by a vendor to sign an agreement for pharmaceutical disposal – even though they send all of their pharmaceutical waste back to their pharmacy!
  4. Once all disposal programs have been reviewed, select a location for a trial to see how the program works at the individual level. Once the trial has been deemed successful, the program can then be rolled out to other locations.


Does this overview still sound like a daunting task?

If so, the experts here at Waste Experts are ready to help. We have a successful track record of implementing pharmaceutical waste disposal programs for our existing healthcare portfolio of clients. We are more than happy to assist you in developing a program that is compliant and cost effective.

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