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Pharmacy Compliance Hazardous Drugs Lawyers

June 30, 2020

Pharmacies are integral in the healthcare system. They are there to receive and dispense medications necessary to patients in the form of prescriptions. As a result of their essential role, pharmacies are supposed to take certain measures to ensure that all the drugs they store, handle and dispense are safe and that the manner in which they do all of those things is also safe and in compliance with both state and federal laws. When drugs are mishandled, it can result in dire results for patients and employees of a pharmacy alike.

Pharmacies and Compliance with Hazardous Drugs

All pharmacies are reviewed by state pharmacy boards to ensure that they follow all the state laws regarding how they handle certain medications. Hazardous drugs, in particular, must be handled a certain way to ensure safety. Hazardous drugs are those that can cause toxicity in the human body. Toxicity can occur in a variety of ways depending on the type of drug; it can be caused by inhalation, ingestion or through absorption into the skin. Pharmacies are required to properly identify the risks these medications pose and the steps to take to mitigate those risks. These drugs must be properly labeled so a patient doesn’t receive the wrong medication from the pharmacy. A compliance officer can take on the responsibility of hazardous drug safety. This is a professional who is required to stay updated on any and all changes at both the state and federal levels regarding the proper protocols for these substances. If anything should change, they must make sure the pharmacy staff is aware and that those changes are implemented.

Importance of Proper Procedures

Even though there should be a compliance officer assigned to monitor the pharmacy’s policies regarding hazardous drugs, the pharmacy owner must also do their part. There should be written compliance policies for all staff to view and the pharmacy owner must also make sure the procedures are carried out. This must be in writing and not simply through word-of-mouth. Staff must also be fully trained to deal with hazardous drugs so as to avoid getting them into the hands of patients and to take the right precautions when handling them.

Compounding Pharmacies and the Risks

Compounding pharmacies need to take even more precautionary measures when working with hazardous drugs. These pharmacies do a lot more than regular ones and handle these medications more often, which requires additional safety steps. Staff working at compounding pharmacies are required to know how these substances can interact when mixed. For example, it might be necessary for PPE — personal protective equipment — to be used, including gowns, masks and goggles. The compliance officer is required to ensure that all staff members have such equipment for their safety.

Disposing of Hazardous Drugs

Additionally, all pharmacies are required to properly dispose of hazardous drugs. If one of these drugs is not properly disposed of, it can cause significant health problems and adversely impact the environment as well. Sadly, past instances of hazardous drugs being improperly disposed of resulted in drinking water being contaminated in some areas. Both state and federal laws determine how pharmacies are required to dispose of these substances. There must also be a plan in place for all the hazardous drugs a pharmacy plans to dispose. Certain information must be included, such as the name of the drug and the amount in weight. This is done by taking inventory. The pharmacy is required to contact its local waste management facility so the labeled hazardous drugs can be brought there. The facility then makes sure the drugs are properly destroyed in compliance with the state and federal laws.

Pharmacy compliance hazardous drug lawyers are fully equipped to help if you need to learn the state and federal laws on how to handle hazardous drugs. Retain an attorney if you need one.

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