The general public is becoming more comfortable in using their local pharmacy for more and more services. This includes the flu vaccination and travel inoculations to name just a few. These integrated services are creating more challenges for the pharmacy to overcome. Waste segregation, staff training and waste collection are complicating the pharmacy business. Especially when you consider that retail pharmacy is a business, and all businesses must control of costs and protect profitability.
New Retail Pharmacy Services & Waste Segregation Complications
With the addition of vaccinations and inoculations, pharmacies now have to deal with small quantities of clinical waste including sharps. These waste streams need careful management and training for the protection of staff and correct waste segregation.
In addition to the waste streams, and to protect families from the dangers of taking out of date medicines, pharmacies offer a take back service for out of date prescription and over the counter medicines. The service ensures that the wrong person (children or the vulnerable) can’t gain access to drugs and medicines not intended for them; it also helps protect the environment from contamination caused by drugs being “flushed” or sent to landfill via residential waste. As with other services now being offered by pharmacies, it complicates waste segregation and staff training even further.
With the introduction of these new services there is the increasing challenge of ensuring staff, and especially new members of staff, are trained in the correct handing and segregation of pharmaceutical waste, clinical waste (including sharps), offensive and non-offensive waste. If waste segregation processes aren’t followed, costs for disposal increase and it’s possible that the pharmacy could fall foul of correct waste management regulations.
Whilst some of the pharmaceutical waste is likely to be sent back to the manufacturer, you are still left with waste streams that need to be collected and processed in a compliant and cost effective manner. It is important that the business chooses a waste management partner that understands the challenges that arise from the production of relatively small quantities of clinical waste across multiple sites. As a result of the pharmacies location often waste collections can only be completed at specific times.
What to look for in a Waste Management Partner
When looking for a waste management partner you should ask the following questions:
- Does the provider own its sites and waste treatment facilities?
- Does the provider own an ADR compliant fleet of vehicles?
- Are their drivers ADR trained?
- Does the provide hold the relevant licences and permits to collect, store, transfer and process waste?
- Does the provider have experience of multiple collections in a retail environment?
By asking the above questions pharmacies will not only protect the environment, public health and manage costs but the company’s reputation is also protected.