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FDA Consumer guidance - Disposal of unused medicines


The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided useful guidance to consumers on how to dispose of unused medicine. Most drugs can be thrown in the household trash, but consumers should take certain precautions before tossing them out, according to the FDA. The FDA worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop the first consumer guidance for proper disposal of prescription drugs. Issued by ONDCP in February 2007, the federal guidelines are summarized and available for download.

Download FDA Drug Disposal_62308 (pdf) (100 KB)

Implementing a pharmacy waste management system
November 2007 Webcast

Increasing national interest in a sustainable environment has accelerated healthcare's attention to waste management and recycling practices. Among those implementing a pharmacy waste management system challenges in waste management and recycling is safe disposal of left over medications, antibiotics, and other chemicals that may find their way into our drinking water and food chain.

On November 8, Premier hosted a public Webcast, “Implementing a pharmacy waste management system” to understand the problem of pharmaceutical waste and suggest solutions and tips on how to separate, label and dispose of common chemicals and drugs.

View Webcast Presentation with Audio


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

On March 25, 2004, NIOSH released a pre-publication edition of a comprehensive document: “Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings.” The purpose of the alert is to increase awareness among healthcare workers and their employers about the health risks posed by working with hazardous drugs and to provide them with measures for protecting their health. This 93 page document includes recommended protection procedures and equipment, protocols for routine cleaning, decontamination, housekeeping and waste disposal, as well as for spill control

Download HazDrugAlert (.pdf) (841 KB)
or go to:

Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step blueprint (New)

Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Health Care Facilities In the United States, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E), April 15, 2006.

Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) recommends this comprehensive, 10-step approach written by Eydie Pines, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment and Charlotte Smith, PharmEcology Associates, LLC., to help hospitals develop and implement a comprehensive pharmaceutical hazardous waste management program. The plan combines regulatory compliance and best management practices with waste minimization while minimizing risk in a cost effective manner. This 108 page document is organized to permit using the steps as needed; they do not necessarily have to be taken consecutively.

Download Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint (.pdf) (2 MB)

Pharmaceutical waste

Closed system transfer device

Use of a unique closed system transfer device such as PhaSeal® can also minimize healthcare workers exposure to cytotoxic drugs during preparation, administration and waste handling/disposal. [Premier contracted supplier PP-PH9CRM-01]

Managing Pharmaceutical Waste - What Pharmacists Should Know.

Smith, C. Journal of Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, November/December 2002 outlines regulatory and environmental concerns regarding the pharmaceutical waste stream, including proposal for a comprehensive waste management plan.

Download full article. (.pdf)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Pharmaceuticals and personal care products

This EPA research site addresses scientific issues associated with the occurrence of “Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment.”  The site was implemented in April 2000, originally as a means of disseminating some of the information from the proceedings of the American Chemical Society's National meeting in San Francisco on March 27, 2000.  As the first web site devoted solely to PPCPs in the environment, the site now serves as a central location to learn about the topic and to initiate searches for further information

Conference proceedings: “Pollution Prevention Strategies for the Health Care Industry”

Massachusetts conference proceedings from October 1998 may be downloaded. (.pdf) (31 KB)

Waste reduction activities for hospitals

The State of California business waste reduction initiatives include this site addressing general waste prevention efforts in hospitals.  Waste prevention is presented as a proven cost-effective approach that helps the bottom line, as well as the environment. Combined with a comprehensive recycling effort, hospitals can significantly reduce their waste. All activities on this fact sheet have been implemented by some hospital in the United States or have been provided by a medical professional.

PharmEcology® Associates, LLC

This resource provides information to assist organizations in identifying, segregating, managing, and disposing of hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Although services such as seminars, on-site reviews, customized consulting are fee-based, this site also provides links and bulletins related to hazardous pharmaceutical waste. This company is a Premier business partner. (Contract number: PP-PH0PGY01)

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