Avoiding Penalties and Protecting Public Health and the Environment
Pharmaceutical waste is a growing concern for healthcare organizations across the United States.
With the increasing use of drugs, the amount of waste generated by hospitals, pharmacies, and other
healthcare facilities is also on the rise. Improper segregation and disposal of pharmaceutical waste
can lead to environmental pollution, health hazards, and even legal penalties.
At OnSite Waste Technologies , we recognize the importance of proper pharmaceutical waste
management. Our company is committed to helping healthcare organizations navigate the complex
regulations around waste disposal while also minimizing their environmental impact. In this blog,
we'll discuss the importance of proper pharmaceutical waste segregation and disposal and provide
examples of how mis-categorization and mishandling can result in penalties and fines.
The Importance of Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Management
Proper pharmaceutical waste management is crucial for healthcare organizations to protect the
environment, public health, and avoid potential legal penalties. Failure to properly segregate and
dispose of pharmaceutical waste can result in serious consequences for healthcare organizations.
Here are a few examples:
- In 2017, a California hospital was fined $33,000 for illegally transporting hazardous waste,
including pharmaceutical waste. The hospital was found to have stored hazardous waste in
an unpermitted area and to have transported hazardous waste without proper labeling or
manifests. (source: California Department of Toxic Substances Control)
- In 2018, a New York hospital was fined $12,000 for illegally disposing of pharmaceutical
waste in the regular trash. The hospital was found to have disposed of used syringes,
empty vials, and other medical waste in the regular trash, rather than through a licensed
medical waste hauler. (source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)
- In 2019, a Maryland hospital was fined $25,000 for failing to properly segregate and
dispose of hazardous waste, including pharmaceutical waste. The hospital was found to
have mixed hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste, and to have disposed of
hazardous waste in a regular dumpster. (source: Maryland Department of the Environment)
Segregating Pharmaceutical Waste
One of the most important steps in managing pharmaceutical waste is proper segregation.
Healthcare organizations must segregate pharmaceutical waste into different categories based on
their characteristics and potential hazards. This includes:
- Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste: This includes items like expired or unused drugs,
empty drug containers, and packaging materials. Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste
should be collected separately from other types of waste and disposed of through a
licensed medical waste hauler.
- Hazardous pharmaceutical waste: This includes items like chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics,
and other hazardous drugs. Hazardous pharmaceutical waste should be segregated from
other waste and disposed of through a licensed hazardous waste hauler.
- Controlled substances: This includes drugs with a potential for abuse or addiction, such as
opioids. Controlled substances must be stored securely and disposed of through a reverse
distributor or a DEA-approved incinerator.
Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Management Solutions with OnSite Waste Technologies
At OnSite Waste Technologies , we offer a variety of waste management solutions, including our
pickup services and mail-back kits to address the unique needs of our healthcare clients.
Proper pharmaceutical waste management is crucial for healthcare organizations to avoid potential
legal penalties and protect public health and the environment.
Contact OnSite Waste Technologies to learn more about our pharmaceutical waste management
solutions or to schedule waste services for your healthcare facility. Trust OnSite Waste Technologies
to provide safe, compliant, and environmentally friendly waste management solutions.