Accreditation

Look to Blueprint to understand new EPA requirements on hazardous drug waste

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2019

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BY A.J. PLUNKETT

Consider managing all your pharmaceuticals as hazardous waste, especially if you are a smaller facility. And warn your C-suite that you’ll be scrutinized for compliance once new environmental regulations take effect.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put a lot of time and effort into revising the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). They will want to see facilities implementing the newly finalized “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine,” says Charlotte A. Smith, RPh, MS, a senior regulatory advisor and founder of PharmEcology Services, now a part of WM Sustainability Services.

The final rule will become effective six months after it is published in the Federal Register. While the pre-published version was signed and posted on the EPA’s website, as of mid-January it had not been officially posted in the Federal Register. 

States that have their own hazardous waste requirements will be allowed time to adopt the requirements. Only Iowa and Alaska, which do not have state environmental programs, will face implementation within six months of publication.

Work with pharmacy, facilities

Managing all pharmaceuticals as hazardous waste may be more efficient and cost-effective for smaller facilities, although larger facilities may not see cost savings. Work with your pharmacy and facilities management department to determine what’s best for your hospital.

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