EPA Proposes Rule for Handling, Storage, Disposal of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste
September 30, 2015 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Citing difficulties faced by individual healthcare workers and healthcare organizations in complying with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements for management of hazardous pharmaceutical waste, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed revisions intended to clarify the rule and improve compliance. Among other challenges, EPA notes that individual healthcare workers are primarily responsible for delivering care and may not be familiar with RCRA or its requirements; that hospitals may have thousands of items in their formularies, making it difficult to ascertain which are covered; and that some active pharmaceutical ingredients are listed as acute hazardous wastes, which are regulated in small amounts. The 80-page rule would specify that pharmaceuticals sent back to manufacturers for reclaiming are still viewed as waste (they had previously been excluded from definitions of waste because they have monetary value in the form of credits offered by the manufacturer).