EPA Publishes New Proposed Rules Regarding Disposal of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

EPA Proposed Rule -  “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals”

On September 25th The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its long-awaited proposed rule regarding the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals in the healthcare industry.  

The EPA is proposing to revise the regulations to improve the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and tailor them to address the specific issues that hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare-related facilities face. This rule will affect both the generators of pharmaceutical waste, such as hospitals and waste management companies that handle and dispose of them.  In addition, the newly proposed regulations are intended to help simplify and streamline more environmentally friendly disposal processes for unused and partially administered controlled substances in medical facilities. 

The EPA states, “In addition, the proposed pharmaceutical rule will make our drinking and surface water safer and healthier by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals entering our waterways.  Through this proposal, EPA strives to improve the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals at healthcare facilities (including hospitals, clinics, and retail stores with pharmacies) and reverse distributors in order to improve environmental protection.  EPA developed this proposal to improve the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to strengthen environmental protection while ensuring businesses have the flexibility and certainty they need to successfully operate.”

The proposed regulations are anticipated to be law once enacted.  As with any proposed rulemaking, the EPA is allowing for a 60-day public comment period beginning September 25th.   This allows industry, health providers, and the public along with other stakeholders to provide relative comments and recommendations to the proposed law.  These comments may influence or change the EPA’s final rulemaking. 

Dave Maness, founder of Cactus states, “We believe the EPA’s Proposed Rule will help streamline the pharmaceutical waste process for healthcare providers and improve existing regulations which have created some confusion and barriers to disposal in the past.  It is highly anticipated that the new standards will provide clarity and workable, environmentally friendly solutions to hazardous pharmaceutical waste.  In order for the new regulations to be manageable, it will be important for individual states to approve uniform transportation and disposal policies to help accommodate a nationwide system.  As with the recent changes to The DEA’s Controlled Substances Act (CSA, October 2014, new regulations for “Disposal of Controlled Substances”), Cactus will be providing recommendations to the EPA regarding safe disposal of remaining portions of partially administered medications.  We are pleased to see these federal agencies working together to provide clear guidance for drug disposal that minimizes environmental impact”

The Cactus Smart Sink system is the top choice for hospitals and other medical facilities.  It provides a safe, effective and environmentally friendly solution for narcotic waste in the healthcare industry.


Back to News & Events