CANANDAIGUA – Officials announced today that F.F. Thompson Hospital is demonstrating its commitment to both the environment and community health by becoming the first hospital in the region to implement Stericycle’s Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance Program.
“Thompson Health is serious about examining the ways pharmaceutical waste is being disposed, and is committed to keeping the waste out of both the watershed and the wrong hands. Using these services places Thompson ahead of the curve with green initiatives at a time when several states are beginning to legislate ‘no flush’ laws,” said Deborah K. Weymouth, executive vice president of the health system and chief operating officer of the hospital.
Between 1993 and 2009, more than 1,500 drugs were approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Some of these drugs – such as endocrine disrupters and antibiotics – were among the waste contaminants found in 80% of streams sampled by the 1999-2000 U.S. Geological Survey. 1
Effectively managing pharmaceutical waste can be complex for hospitals. Through Stericycle’s Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance Program, Thompson pharmacists are able to identify all of the medications that have the potential to be hazardous to the environment and use specially-designated containers to collect any waste (refused, partial doses or unused portions). Other pharmaceutical waste is collected in separate containers. All of the containers are then removed from the health system by trained waste handlers and disposed of according to state, Department of Environmental Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
“This initiative for patient safety and watershed protection represents a significant team effort for the entire healthcare organization and everyone is committed to make it successful,” Weymouth said, noting that an upcoming community event is an extension of that commitment.
On Saturday, Oct. 30, Thompson joins several other community organizations in supporting a drop-off event for unused and unwanted medications. Sponsored by the Partnership for Ontario County, this event will be held at the Canandaigua Wegmans from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“These drop-offs help improve watershed groundwater quality and get controlled substances – expired and unneeded – out of the reach of children and potential drug abusers,” said Thompson Health Director of Pharmacy/Cardiopulmonary Services Robert Locke.
1 The University Chicago Medical Center