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3 Top Pharmaceutical Waste Questions Answered

Oct 13, 2016

maryland pharmaceutical waste removal

The world of medical and Pharmaceutical waste management is complex, diverse, and highly regulated. In the past, healthcare officials and personal were not traditionally responsible for pharmaceutical waste management, therefore there are usually many questions involved with beginning the process of this type of waste management. Because it is so complex and regulated, it is also an ever changing topic. Laws, regulations, and status can often change and the medical professionals and waste management professionals must stay on top of the changing guidelines.

We have taken our most frequently asked questions and compiled them here to help.

Are hazardous wastes and infectious, red-bag, bio hazardous wastes the same?

It is a common mistake to assume that hazardous wastes can be “red-bagged”. Red-bag waste is by definition infectious bio hazardous waste. Hazardous waste must be properly stored, logged, transported, and destroyed following very specific federal guidelines. Red-bag waste from a waste facility does not warrant the same level of disposal.

Which Pharmaceuticals are considered Hazardous?

Nicotine is the most common hazardous waste pharmaceutical. Aside from that there is a long list of chemotherapy drugs and agents that fall in the hazardous waste category. We recommend that each facility speak to their waste management provider to discuss the pharmaceuticals that are on site and their specific categories for handling and disposal.

Am I managing pharmaceutical waste correctly?

There are training programs and information that are available through the EPA in order to educate the industry on the standards they are held to. It is also key to use a repuatable waste removal service and to ask them questions and work personally with them on your hazardous waste removal plan.

A good rule of thumb is to be able to answer “No” to all of the following. If you answer yes, you may be out of compliance.

  1. Is pharmaceutical waste being disposed of in the red sharps containers in your patient care units?
  2. Are any unused IV’s or other compounded fluids being disposed of down the drain?
  3. Are waste pharmaceuticals being combined with non-waste pharmaceuticals?
  4. Does your yellow “Chemo waste” container contain more than a trace amount of disguised chemo drugs via Vials or IV’s?

If you have found yourself asking these questions or more, contact us today to educate, reassess, or start a hazardous waste removal plan and service. With over 70 years of combined experience, we can assure your facility that the wastes you generate are logged, handled, transported, and destroyed responsibly.

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