Pharmaceutical waste management is a long and complicated topic that falls within the hub of hazardous waste management.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) provides guidance regarding medications that are known environmental hazards. These are called hazardous pharmaceutical wastes or RCRA drug wastes. The EPA rule, “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals” applies to pharmaceutical wastes that meet the RCRA definitions. These include:
- P-listed drugs, such as nicotine and warfarin
- U-listed drugs, including lindane and melphalan
- Pharmaceuticals with heavy metals, including the preservative thimerosal
Not all pharmaceuticals are created equally, and not all are considered hazardous, but all drugs must be disposed of properly. With so many pharmaceuticals, it can be difficult to know how to dispose of them while maintaining compliance. The EPA and DOT will levy fines to facilities that don’t properly dispose of pharmaceutical waste.
EPA fines for noncompliance can be as high as $10,000 to $25,000 per violation per day, as well as jail time. Additionally, if your facility breaks any pharmaceutical waste transportation rules, the DOT can fine you up to $15,000 per violation.
Waste disposal regulations clearly define the generator of the waste as the responsible party for all waste generated at the site. This is a situation of “cradle-to-grave” responsibility. Generators of pharmaceutical waste must be certain that their waste is properly stored, transported, and ultimately disposed of according to all legal requirements.
Your pharmaceutical waste solution company must be licensed by the EPA and DOT to transport hazardous waste. Here at Red Bags, we specialize in healthcare waste management and can provide you with a consultation based on your pharmaceutical waste needs.