Some providers could be forced to change how they dispose of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, thanks to a new regulation that goes into effect Wednesday.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s tougher rules, healthcare organizations will be banned from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals into the sewer system.
Drugs, such as opioids and chemotherapies, will have to be thrown out via proper channels. The maximum fine for offenders who don’t follow the rule could be more than $70,000 per day per violation, Modern Healthcare reported.
One expert believes this rule change could force numerous providers, distributors and pharmacies to change their waste processes.
“I have talked to a lot of hospitals and other healthcare facilities that are still flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals; there has been no effort to minimize that practice,” attorney Elise Paeffgen, an attorney within Alston & Bird’s environment, land use and natural resources speciality, told the news organization. “Now they have a hard stop next week that applies across the country. It’s definitely a big change for a lot of facilities.”