[Pharmwaste] pharmaceutical waste reduction

Bickford, Barbara J - DNR (Barb) Barbara.Bickford at wisconsin.gov
Tue Mar 1 12:50:28 EST 2016

Here are two related items about institutional sources of pharmaceutical waste.  The first is a news report on Marketplace, which refers to the second, a journal report recently published in BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal).

Bad packaging means $3 billion worth of drugs will be wasted this year

"Patients, insurance companies and the federal government are on track to spend about $3 billion this year on cancer drugs that will be thrown away, according to a report on pharmaceutical company profits in BMJ - formerly known as the British Medical Journal - that was released Tuesday.  At the same time, drug makers, hospitals and doctors are profiting from the way these drugs are packaged, researchers found."

Source: Marketplace

Overspending driven by oversized single dose vials of cancer drugs


"Even though reducing waste in healthcare is a top priority, analysts have missed the waste that can be created when expensive infused drugs are packaged containing quantities larger than the amount needed. This is particularly true for drugs for which dosage is based on a patient's weight or body size and that come in single dose packages. These drugs must be either administered or discarded once open, and because patients' body sizes are unlikely to match the amount of drug included in the vial, there is nearly always some left over. The leftover drug still has to be paid for, even when discarded, making it possible for drug companies to artificially increase the amount of drug they sell per treated patient by increasing the amount in each single dose vial relative to the typically required dose."
Source: BMJ (fka the British Medical Journal)

Barb Bickford
Medical Waste Coordinator and Hydrogeologist
Waste and Materials Mgt/Environmental Management Division
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster St., PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921
Phone: 608-267-3548
Fax: 608-267-2768
barbara.bickford at wisconsin.gov

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