The correct disposal of pharmaceutical waste has often been one of the more controversial topics. Pharmacies generate large amounts of waste each year due to expired medications that can sometimes even be hazardous.

In such situations, the improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste can spell disaster for the local ecosystem. Before learning the effective ways to prevent this, it’s essential to understand how pharmaceutical waste is commonly classified.

How is Pharmaceutical Waste Classified?

As per UK regulations, pharmaceutical waste is classified into four major categories. These are:

Hazardous Pharmaceuticals

Hazardous Pharmaceuticals are extremely dangerous if left out in the open. These can even be lethal if misused and must be disposed of safely. Examples of such drugs are Warfarin, Cyclophosphamide, and more.

Non-Regulated Pharmaceuticals

Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals are relatively safe and have more simple methods of disposal. However, it is still illegal to sell or store them once they expire, and they must be disposed of immediately. These are usually sent to a landfill or for incineration.

Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals

Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals are relatively safe and have more simple methods of disposal. However, it is still illegal to sell or store them once they expire, and they must be disposed of immediately. These are usually sent to a landfill or for incineration.

Controlled Pharmaceuticals

Controlled Pharmaceuticals can be both hazardous and non-hazardous depending on their updated classification. The government and EA (Environmental Agency) update their list of hazardous drugs frequently, and pharmacies must check the updated lists to ensure compliance.

How Must Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste Be Disposed Of?

All Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste must be sent to a treatment plant. Pharmacies rely on their waste management contractors to provide this service. Disposing hazardous waste in a non-compliant manner can result in hefty fines for the pharmacy.

What’s the Disposal Procedure for Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals?

All non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste is sent to a landfill or incinerated, depending on the more eco-friendly option. This prevents the waste from getting into the wrong hands and ensures complete compliance for the pharmacy.

Final Thoughts

Managing a pharmacy is hard work, especially with the number of regulations the owners must comply with. Most pharmacies in the UK manage effective disposal of their pharmaceutical waste with the help of an efficient contractor.

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