New Pharmaceutical Hazardous Waste Rule Could Impact Healthcare Facilities

by Mandy Hicks


Sarah Jarboe

On August 21, 2019, a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency went into effect in Kentucky that could change the way certain healthcare facilities are required to manage pharmaceutical hazardous waste.  The rule is intended to streamline the collection and handling requirements of pharmaceutical hazardous waste and reduce the complexity of hazardous waste regulations that must be followed by healthcare facilities.

What are some of the new requirements?

One of the requirements is that all healthcare facilities are now prohibited from flushing or pouring pharmaceutical hazardous waste down the drain.  Facilities are also required to track their pharmaceutical hazardous waste and provide basic training for employees related to the management of such waste.

Additionally, this rule excludes certain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies (i.e. nicotine patches, lozenges, or gum) from regulation as hazardous waste.  Anyone who generates these wastes may now discard them as non-hazardous waste.

What types of facilities must comply with this rule?

This rule affects healthcare facilities that generate and manage pharmaceutical hazardous waste.  The definition of healthcare facilities under this rule includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • hospitals,
  • health clinics,
  • psychiatric hospitals,
  • ambulatory surgical centers,
  • ambulance services,
  • physicians’ offices,
  • optical and dental providers,
  • chiropractors,
  • long-term care facilities (e.g., hospice, nursing, and skilled nursing),
  • pharmacies,
  • retailers of pharmaceuticals, and
  • veterinary clinics and hospitals.

The extent of a facility’s obligations under the Pharmaceutical Hazardous Waste Rule may depend on the quantity of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated by the facility.

For more information about whether your facility is affected or about the obligations your facility may have under these new regulations, please contact Sarah Jarboe by phone, at 270-781-6500, or by e-mail, at