Pharmaceutical waste management has lately arisen as a serious problem for both medical institutions and the environment. Unregulated medical waste is a major public health issue that endangers not only human health and safety but also the environment for present and future generations.

The Pharmaceutical Medical Waste generated by healthcare units is affected by a variety of factors, including waste management methods, the type of healthcare unit, the occupancy of healthcare units, the specialisation of healthcare units, the ratio of reusable items in use, the availability of infrastructure and resources, and others.

Do’s of Pharmaceutical Medical Waste Management

1. Train Medical Practitioners

Before anything unpredictable happens in your facility, you must train your medical staff on the safety measure, hazards, and disposal methods of the medical waste generated from your healthcare facility. The cost in terms of time and capital is better to afford than mistakes in disposing of medical waste.

2. Raising awareness on the Dangers of Improper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

DO keep all medical waste out of the reach of children and animals. Ensure that medical waste and sharps containers are placed in such a way that patients, particularly young patients, do not endanger themselves by putting their hands into disposal devices. You should follow this practice and also ensure that this form of correct practice is preached by others too.

3. Availing Specific Collection Points for Pharmaceutical Medical Waste

You can set up a proper and organised plan for the pharmaceutical waste generated from your facility on a timely and place basis. This will make the process flawless and hence reduce the accidents occurring due to mismanagement of pharmaceutical waste.

4. Handling Expired Pharmaceuticals Appropriately

The easiest approach to dispose of most unwanted or expired drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) is to drop them off at a drug take-back site, location, or programme as soon as possible. If this is not the case, then the first thing you must ensure is that the drug is stored hassle-free. Never ever flush any medicine, it may be satisfying to do so, but can cause huge problems by contaminating ground water and also affect people associated with Municipal Solid Waste line cleaning.

5. Handling Pharmaceutical Medical Waste with Protective Gear

Whether it is sharps, chemotherapy drugs or anything else, gloves, a mask, and a full-length apron is a must for the healthcare worker. You do not want the healthcare workers to get affected due to improper protection gear.

6. Storing Pharmaceutical Waste in Refrigerated Rooms

Refrigeration prevents the growth of microbes and pathogens that can potentially cause harm to the person handling the pharmaceutical waste. Furthermore, this waste carries germs with it wherever it goes and contaminates everything that comes in contact with it.

7. Keep Off Your Personal Entities

DO keep your keys, mobile phone, and other personal objects away from medical waste containers, particularly while packing the trash for disposal. Personal objects that have come into touch with medical waste should not be collected due to the risk of contamination.

Don’ts of Pharmaceutical Medical Waste Management:

1. Improper Classifications

When it comes to pharmaceutical waste, there are a lot of types under it. Colour coding is one way to differentiate different types of medical waste. Never miss on the proper method of classification, as it can lead to the mixing of pharmaceutical waste and cause hazards associated with it.

2. Incorrect Labelling

Remember to label any medical waste. To meet transit and disposal standards, all containers must be traced. For correct labelling standards, consult a professional who is well versed with the rule and regulations of your area and country.

3. Dumping Pharmaceutical Waste in Sewers

Throwing the waste in sewers or simply flushing it down will only help you pass your problem to someone else or even worse, may affect another person. People working as cleaners of a sewer line can come in contact with your pharmaceutical waste and face its consequences.

4. Mixing Chemo Medications With Other Medical Wastes

Chemical waste is one of the most hazardous wastes categorised in the pharmaceutical field. It is important to know the difference between chemical waste and keep it aloof from other types of waste.

5. Separate Mercury Waste

Do not throw anything containing Mercury with other waste items in the waste. Mercury, dental amalgam, amalgam capsules, removed teeth with amalgam fillings, dental traps, thermometers, and aneroid blood pressure monitors are examples of such materials that should only be disposed of as mercury hazardous waste.

Conclusion

For a medical practitioner and a healthcare facility owner, it is important to differentiate between the DOs and DON’Ts in the field of Pharmaceutical waste management.

It is always a good option to consider availing the facilities of a qualified professional medical waste management firm. TCW is a UK-based professional consulting company that can provide you with all the facilities for medical waste disposal. Give us a call to visit your facility. We do it for free.

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