Pharmaceutical waste


Proper pharmaceutical waste management is vital for the greater good of the environment. Best of all, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 6 steps on how to deal with pharmaceutical waste for safe and effective disposal:

1.      Separate biohazardous waste from pharmaceutical waste

Pharmaceutical waste must be handled differently than biohazardous waste, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. The biohazardous waste can be placed in a red biohazardous waste container to be driven to a landfill after sterilization.

2.      Isolate all controlled substances

After the pharmaceutical waste has been separated from biohazardous waste, it’s time to segregate it by removing the controlled substances (such as benzodiazepines and opiates). Handling of all controlled substances must be done as per the US Drug Enforcement Agency regulations.

Any unused controlled substance must be collected and transported to the manufacturer to either return or destroy it. However, the reversing practitioner or distributor must be registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) via the US Department of Justice to handle the stringent paperwork.

Black containers

3.      Sort out any traces of chemotherapy waste

Chemotherapy waste, even in small trace amounts, is known to be harmful to the public; therefore, all chemotherapy waste, including IV tubes used to administer drugs, empty medication vials, and medical gloves worn by the staff when delivering medication, must be disposed of properly to ensure it meets all the standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure safety. All chemotherapy waste must be placed in FDA-compliant yellow containers.

4.      Segregate any hazardous waste

There are certain medications that have been classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as hazardous chemicals that must be disposed of properly to reduce the potential risk to the public and the environment. Hazardous waste includes drugs like lindane, mitomycin, and warfarin. These must be placed and sealed in black containers to indicate that they require special disposal.

5.      Package the remaining pharmaceutical waste

After the remains have been classified as non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste, they must be disposed of in white containers with blue lids to ensure that all waste is treated as per environmental requirements.

6.      Contact a fully licensed medical waste disposal management company

After complying with all necessary precautions, the last effort to not put it all at risk is by partnering up with the right waste disposal service. The company must be licensed and entirely in compliance with state and federal laws to help you manage everything from delivery to disposal.

With over 25 years of experience, Medical Systems is a full-service healthcare safety company fully licensed and regulated with all state and OSHA waste management regulations. From sharps, biohazard, and chemotherapy to infectious and pathology, we are a medical waste removal company that picks up and treats medical and hazardous waste for disposal in Denver.

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