Safety

Drug shortages making storage, infection control regulations tough to comply with

Hospital Safety Insider, February 16, 2012

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As drug shortages, particularly of cancer-treating drugs, continue to occur, pharmacists are having ethical dilemmas on whether to follow storage and infection control guidelines that might require hospitals to throw out medication coveted by desperate patients.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Pharmacopeia, all have guidelines and regulations that might require pharmacists to dispose of the drugs, perhaps because they are past an expiration date, have been opened for longer than 24 hours, or are in a possibly contaminated container.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists are raising questions about federal rules they believe exacerbate the shortage, and some pharmacists admit to knowingly using drugs that regulations say should be disposed.

Source: MSNBC



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