February 11, 2010
Adventist Midwest Health touts new pharmaceutical waste program
Hospital system ahead of the curve in following ‘no flush’ law
Hinsdale – Adventist Midwest Health today announced its commitment to minimizing environmental impact and making good decisions for the benefit of community health and safety by implementing a pharmaceutical waste management program in conjunction with the Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance Service provided by Stericycle Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL). With this move, the four suburban Chicago hospitals that comprise Adventist Midwest Health are ahead of the compliance curve of several states beginning to legislate “no flush” laws, including an Illinois law that became effective Jan.1.
The American healthcare sector accounts for 8 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint, according to a recent study by the University of Chicago Hospitals and published in JAMA1. Hospitals are by far the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the healthcare sector, the analysis found.
“As a healthcare leader with four hospitals in the Chicago region, we value efforts that help keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Jack Durley, pharmacy director at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.
A pharmaceutical waste compliance service helps hospitals address the growing concern of pharmaceutical waste that enters the public water system. Eighty percent of streams sampled by the 1999-2000 U.S. Geological Survey were found to have at least one waste contaminant. These contaminants included pharmaceutical drugs such as endocrine disrupters and antibiotics. In a similar study in 2008, an Associated Press survey reported the detection of pharmaceuticals in drinking water serving 41 million Americans.
The need to address this issue is imperative since the number of drugs in the marketplace keeps growing. Approved drugs by the FDA numbered more than 1,400 between 1993 and 2008. With 76 new and first time drug applications approved by the FDA through September of this year, this number is on track to represent 11 percent more new drug approvals than during 20081.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) has been in effect for more than 30 years. This Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate hazardous materials including hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Hospitals, which are major users of pharmaceuticals, are seeking assistance to effectively manage pharmaceutical waste. The process can be complex. Pharmaceutical waste must be characterized, segregated, and transported in accordance with federal and state rules and regulations. The disposal must also be documented.
“Each year, more regulations, especially at the state level, are enacted to require appropriate segregation, transportation and treatment of healthcare waste in accordance with best demonstrated practices,” Durley said. “Last month, the Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Act began to prohibit the disposal of unused medication into a public wastewater collection system or septic system. Adventist Midwest Health is ahead of the compliance curve by partnering with Stericycle’s Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance Service in the development and implementation of a comprehensive environmentally conscious pharmaceutical waste management program.”
About Adventist Midwest Health:
Adventist Midwest Health, a member of Adventist Health System, is a not-for-profit Christian health-care leader committed to partnering with physicians and the community to provide whole-person care and promote wellness. Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, Adventist Glen Oaks Hospital and Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, which opened in 2008 as the first new hospital built in the state of Illinois in 25 years. Through state-of-the-art technology, comprehensive medical services and wellness programs; over 1,200 independent physicians and nearly 5,000 employees touch hundreds of lives and live out the mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ. Visit us at www.keepingyouwell.com.
Lake Forest, IL-based Stericycle (NASDAQ: SRCL) is a leader in healthcare-related services that protect people and reduce risk. With more than 459,000 customers worldwide, Stericycle has operations in North America, Europe, and Latin America. Visit www.stericycle.com.
Safe Harbor Statement: Statements in this press release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control (for example, general economic conditions). Our actual results could differ significantly from the results described in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences include changes in governmental regulation of medical waste collection and treatment and increases in transportation and other operating costs, as well as the other factors described in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result, past financial performance should not be considered a reliable indicator of future performance, and investors should not use historical trends to anticipate future results or trends. We make no commitment to disclose any subsequent revisions to forward-looking statements.
1 source: The University Chicago Medical Center
2 Source: www.accessdata.fda.gov.