In the 1980s, infusion therapy began to be offered in the home in response to developments in clinical administration and pressure to reduce costs. For the patient, home infusion offers more convenience and allows them to live more normal lives while undergoing treatment. Today, the industry has continued to grow, making up $9-11 billion dollars spent each year in the U.S. healthcare market. Part of that money is spent on the disposal of regulated wastes and management of equipment in both the pharmacy and the patient’s home. Sharps Compliance offers a variety of home infusion solutions.
Are used dental anesthetic carpules classified as medical waste, pharmaceutical waste, hazardous waste, or general waste that can be placed in the trash? Dental offices frequently ask our team this question about carpule disposal. The answer depends on the used carpule and the regulations for the state in which the office practices.
Nurses practicing in senior care have very busy work schedules. From caring for patients to distributing medications to updating records, their days can become overwhelming. One of the more time-consuming tasks is the disposal of unused medication.
When a resident’s medication is permanently discontinued, it must be properly disposed. Prior to updates to the 2014 Drug Enforcement Agency’s regulations which implemented the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, few safe, efficient and environmentally-preferred options were available to communities for controlled drug disposal. Typically, the Director of Nursing and another nurse would itemize the drugs to be destroyed and then undertake the time-consuming task of emptying them out of their containers or blister packs. Removing individual pills from blister packs can not only be time-consuming (and therefore, costly) but also painful and difficult. Once removed, the drugs were typically placed into the toilet or mixed with an undesirable substance, such as kitty litter or dissolved in a chemical prior to putting them into the trash. After all of the medication was removed and destroyed, the residents’ identifying information on the packaging had to be concealed and disposed of safely to prevent disclosure of protected health information.
On September 9, 2014, the Department of Justice published the final rules for the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 allowing proper controlled substance disposal. The regulations go into effect October 9, 2014. The amended rules (found here) allow registered collectors, such as closed-door and retail pharmacies to place receptacles in long-term care facilities to collect and dispose of controlled substances (Schedules II-V). Before the rule update, solutions for disposal in long-term care facilities were minimal and often messy and environmentally unsustainable.
Flushing controlled substances, while acceptable in some states, should be avoided as the long-term effects of pharmaceuticals in rivers and streams are unknown. In 2008, the Associated Press found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan water supplies. Other studies have shown changes in aquatic life such as gender changes in fish, due to pharmaceuticals in the water.
I don’t have time to close up and label the medical waste box
– so the medical waste transport driver does it.
This is a statement often uttered by busy employees responsible for managing their facility’s medical waste. Whether using a pickup service or mailing medical waste, only properly trained persons at the generating facility should package, label, and sign the tracking form for the waste shipment. That does not include a pickup service driver or untrained facility employee.