Pharmaceutical Waste Reduction Strategies

Minimize drug order

Healthcare providers order only enough of a drug from the pharmacy as will be used in a given procedure or as needed by a patient. For procedures, a pharmacist may agree to be on hand to mix more of a drug as needed. This idea can be expanded to the facility, which should only purchase as much of a drug as will be used, in order to minimize drug expirations.

Reduces Amount: Yes
Reduces Toxicity: No

Examples of Applying this Strategy

Generic Drug: Epinephrine

Three bags of 250 cc epinephrine were being prepared for surgery when only one was routinely used. The surgeon agreed to order only one and the pharmacist agreed to be on hand to make them as needed, which has since reduced waste generation at this facility.

Proprietary Drug(s): Epinephrine
Delivery Method(s): Intravenous (IV)

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

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

©2015 Healthcare Environmental Resource Center