What is PSI doing on Medical Sharps?

National Medical Sharps Dialogue

PSI facilitated a national dialogue to maximize the safe and environmentally sound disposal of waste sharps in a manner that is financially sustainable. The initiative began with the development of a Project Summary and then a Product Stewardship Action Plan for Medical Sharps, which was developed based on background research and interviews with representatives of the medical sharps and pharmaceutical industries, government officials, and public health groups. Three dialogue meetings were convened from 2008 - 2009, with additional workgroup meetings to further examine data related to the scope of the issue and different collection models.

PSI convened two workgroups during the dialogue process. The Data Workgroup examined data related to the nature and the scope of the problem, with an update presented at the second meeting. Dialogue participants in Meeting #2 agreed that needle sticks are not commonly reported in the community setting (e.g., outside healthcare facilities), and we do not know where and how often needle sticks occur outside the healthcare setting. They also agreed that, while the risk of disease transmission from such a needle stick is generally low, costs can be significant for both individuals and their employers. The Projects Workgroup conducted a survey to collect information on the operations, costs, safety, and management of sharps collection programs underway at pharmacies and public facilities around the country. The results are available upon request.

By the conclusion of Meeting #3, participants agreed that PSI would attempt to arrive at an agreement with key stakeholders to implement a Demonstration Project in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, there was not sufficient support from the self-injected pharmaceutical companies to contribute to the demonstration project. Without an agreement, it was understood that states would continue to seek legislation for the solutions they need, and this legislation would likely vary as different models emerged across the country. PSI developed a memo describing the conclusion of the dialogue and making recommendations related to the financing of sharps collection programs, the role of retail pharmacies, and the need for legislation. PSI coordinated closely with the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal.

Get Involved

Interested in learning more about sharps collection programs, producer responsibility for medical sharps, or the discussions in PSI’s dialogue? Contact Stefanie Wnuck at Stefanie@productstewardship.us, or 617-671-0616 for more information.

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