Drug disposal solution earns certification for a Michigan hospital

December 15, 2008

Northern Michigan Regional Hospital is the first hospital in the country to win certification in waste management.

Key Points

Northern Michigan Regional Hospital of Petoskey is the first hospital to be certified for having designed and implemented a pharmaceutical waste-management program in compliance with state, federal, and local regulations. The certification also means the hospital adopted best management practices to prevent drugs from being disposed of in drains or landfills.

PharmEcology Associates LLC, the company that certified the hospital, helped employees identify and manage pharmaceutical waste, and worked closely with regulators to ensure the development of programs that are cost-effective and compliant.

"Northern Michigan Regional Hospital is to be commended on this ground-breaking effort," said Charlotte Smith, president of PharmEcology. "It required all of us to work very closely with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the vendor community to ensure that proper procedures were developed and implemented."

In addition, the hospital began offering a training program for pharmacy staff, nursing staff, environmental services staff, and safety personnel.

To be certified, the hospital had to develop procedures for dealing with pharmaceutical waste streams, including state and federal hazardous drug waste, bulk chemotherapy waste, trace chemotherapy waste, biohazardous drug waste, controlled substances, and empty drug containers.