Pharmaceutical Waste Reduction Strategies

Administer a patient-specific dosage

Prepackaged unit dose drugs are replaced with patient specific doses to prevent waste from partial use, especially in neonatal and pediatric units. This strategy may also be used for drugs that are acutely toxic waste when discarded, whose "containers" must also be managed as hazardous waste.

Reduces Amount: Yes
Reduces Toxicity: No

Examples of Applying this Strategy

In hospital units where doses are often customized, like neonatal and pediatrics, using patient-specific instead of prepackaged doses reduces the amount of medication wasted.

Delivery Method(s): Intravenous (IV), Injectable, Inhalation, Oral Liquid, Oral Tablet

For more information:

Smith, Charlotte, Pines, Eydie et al. "Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities In the United States." Practice Greenhealth, 2008.

Healthcare Environmental Resource Center

Phone: (734) 995-7989

By limiting the use of one-size-fits-all drug dosing the amount of drugs wasted is reduced by decreasing the number of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Reducing ADRs results in reducing the amount of drugs needed to counteract the adverse reaction, reduces the drugs that accumulate and are stored after a change in treatment recommended by a physician, and through less waste caused by patient self-adjusting the does while still maintaining a standard dose fill-rate.

Delivery Method(s): Oral Tablet

For more information:

Daughton, Christian G. "Cradle-to-Cradle Stewardship of Drugs for Minimizing Their Environmental Disposition While Promoting Human Health." Environmental Health Perspectives. 2003 May; 111(5):757-774.

Christian Daughton

Phone: (702) 798-2207

Additional Resources

See pages 53-54 of "Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10 Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities in the United States."

CDC's frequently asked questions on single dose vials

CDC's frequently asked questions on multi-dose vials

©2015 Healthcare Environmental Resource Center