The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed changes that may impact the way pharmaceuticals, especially those containing hazardous waste ingredients, are handled through reverse distribution. Organizations generating pharmaceutical waste including pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and physicians groups may be impacted. The following excerpt comes from the EPA website.
[text_box]2014 EPA Proposal to Address the Management of Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals
The Agency is in the process of developing a new proposal to establish appropriate standards for the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated by healthcare facilities. This most recent effort is a continuation of the December 2, 2008 proposal to add hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to the Universal Waste Program. Public comment on the December 2008 proposal revealed numerous concerns over the lack of notification requirements for those facilities that generate, handle or transport “universal waste” pharmaceuticals as well as for the lack of tracking requirements for the shipment of these wastes. Therefore, the Agency decided to not finalize the 2008 proposed rule, but rather develop another proposal for new standards for the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that are generated by healthcare-related facilities. With the new rule, the concerns raised by the public comments regarding notification and tracking issues can be more fully addressed as well as other hazardous waste pharmaceutical management issues that are more specific to healthcare facilities. This new proposed rulemaking will only pertain to those pharmaceutical wastes the meet the current definition of a RCRA hazardous waste and that are generated by healthcare-related facilities. [/text_box]
Healthcare facilities and other business entities that generate hazardous waste pharmaceuticals must currently manage these wastes in accordance with the RCRA Subtitle C generator requirements, but stay tuned to see if changes will be implemented moving forward. Here’s a link to the current handling guidelines until the newly proposed rule is finalized and adopted by authorized states.
By Denise Bloch