CareFusion (NYSE: CFN), a leading global medical technology company, today announced it has acquired technology to automate the segregation of pharmaceutical waste, helping hospitals reduce cost, improve regulatory controls and facilitate environmental responsibility.
The problem of pharmaceutical waste has reached a dangerous level, with U.S. hospitals purchasing more than 4 billion vials, bottles and ampoules containing hazardous materials and generating more than 84,000 tons of hazardous waste annually. According to a recent U.S. Geological survey, pharmaceutical waste was found in 80 percent of sampled water streams, contaminating drinking water. In 2008, another study found a vast array of pharmaceutical drugs present in the drinking water of 41 million American homes and in 24 major metropolitan areas.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been ramping up enforcement nationwide. Hospitals may be fined up to $37,500 per infraction, per day, for improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste. Recently, a government-owned hospital was fined $51,501 and ordered to spend $500,000 to develop a program for pharmaceutical waste management; another large cancer hospital was fined $372,254 for improper handling and storage of hazardous pharmaceutical waste.
With the acquisition of Vestara, a Calif.-based company focused exclusively on developing solutions for the management of pharmaceutical waste, CareFusion expands its Pyxis® medication management portfolio with the Pyxis EcoStationTM – a hardware and software system that can help hospitals identify, classify and segregate pharmaceutical waste, while providing records to facilitate tracking and regulatory controls.
“Pharmaceutical waste management is a challenging issue, with many of the nation’s hospitals remaining non-compliant due to complex handling requirements specific to each medication classification and varying regulations at federal, state and local levels,” said Tom Leonard, president of Dispensing Technologies at CareFusion. “CareFusion can now help in a way that protects their employees, the environment and their bottom line.”
CareFusion’s patented Pyxis EcoStation system uses barcode technology for drug identification and a database of more than 180,000 National Drug Code products to categorize and separate pharmaceutical waste at the point of disposal. By automating the identification and sorting of different types of residual drugs, the Pyxis EcoStation system eliminates the human error and potential cross contamination inherent in manual sorting of pharmaceutical waste.
CareFusion is the industry leader in dispensing technologies with its Pyxis medication and supply management and Pyxis® point-of-care solutions. CareFusion will demonstrate the new Pyxis EcoStation system at the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition from June 12 – 15 in Denver.