Managing pharmaceutical waste is an integral component of the pharmaceutical industry, whether referring to pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, pharmacies, or healthcare facilities where physicians manage pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical waste comes in many different forms including chemicals from manufacturing, expired products such as pills, strips, patches and lozenges and liquid medications. Even individual consumers who possess and then dispose of medications generate pharmaceutical waste and should be aware of the proper disposal methods.
All of these sources of pharmaceutical waste have the potential to cause illness or injury if misused through drug diversion and are shown to have caused significant contamination of ground and water supplies.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
According to an article in Nordic Life Science News, Pharma industry confronts growing problem of pharmaceutical waste, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a real concern which is linked to the disposal of antibiotics and additional pharmaceutical chemicals into the environment mainly to the water supply. Antibiotics provide a critical role in healthcare and medical treatment fighting bacterial infections. Contamination of the environment with antibiotic chemicals, however, contributes to AMR and is recognized as a serious, worldwide threat to public health by the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, the WHO predicts that by the year 2050, 10 million lives a year will be lost due to AMR causing the inability to fight off “superbugs”.
While pharmaceutical companies are stepping up their efforts to tackle the issue, watchdog organizations, the UN, the European Commission, and others are demanding that the industry take swifter action and to make those efforts transparent. In developed countries where wastewater treatment plants aim to provide safe drinking water to communities, even modern facilities are unable to filter out all chemical compounds used in manufacturing pharmaceuticals. Wastewater treatment plants are designed mainly to remove solids and reduce bacteria by oxidizing the water, they were not engineered to deal with complex chemical compounds.
As stated in a study conducted in 2017 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), only 9 of the 118 assessed pharmaceuticals were shown to have been removed by municipal wastewater treatment processes with 95% efficacy. The same study also revealed that nearly half of the compounds were removed with 50% efficacy. Pharmaceutical waste in the water supplies of the United States is a serious problem and especially in countries which lack regulations on water treatment or wastewater treatment infrastructure.
Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Solutions for Pharmacies
We need to do better and raise awareness to the importance of responsible pharmaceutical waste management and disposal in all industries worldwide. Pharmaceutical companies can do a lot to take the lead and better manage their pharmaceutical waste and disposal methods. Pharmacies across the country require a method for the safe and compliant disposal of medications and pharmaceutical compounds.
Rx Destroyer™ offers safe, effective, and federally compliant drug disposal containers in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of many pharmaceutical establishments. Our unique patented formula quickly neutralizes medications with chemical digestion to meet the most recent DEA regulations for pharmaceutical disposal. Contact us to learn more and see how easy it is to implement a compliant, convenient, and reliable pharmaceutical waste disposal solution.