USP Issues Updated Standard on Handling of Hazardous Drugs
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) released a new standard on Feb. 1 intended to help protect healthcare workers and patients from exposures to hazardous drugs. USP published the new standard as Chapter <800>, Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings, of the United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary (USP-NF). USP-NF is a compendium of standards for medicines, dosages, medical devices, and related treatments. According to a USP press release, the standard applies to all healthcare personnel in all facilities where hazardous drugs are handled, stored, or distributed, with the goal of preventing or limiting exposure. USP defines a hazardous drug as any drug included in the NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings (PDF). “Each year, approximately 8 million healthcare workers in the U.S. are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs,” said Jaap Venema, PhD, executive vice-president and chief science officer of USP. “Practitioners are frequently unaware of the scope of the risk or the measures that should be taken to reduce such risk. The new standard defines processes intended to minimize exposure to hazardous drugs in healthcare settings, thereby protecting healthcare workers as well as patients.” Healthcare facilities have until June 1, 2018, to comply with the new requirements. An FAQ about Chapter <800> is available from the USP website.