The United States Pharmacopeia mandates that any pharmacy staff that handle hazardous drugs (HD) should be trained on the safe use of such drugs and demonstrate their knowledge of how to handle the drugs.
Moreover, their competency at handling these drugs needs to be reassessed every year. They also need to be trained if new equipment is being used to administer the medication, if there are changes in procedures for handling the drugs, or if a new hazardous drug is being dispensed.
Hazardous drugs are defined as those medications that are included on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health list of antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs.
Staff need to receive training in the following areas: receiving an overview of all HDs dispensed at the pharmacy and their risks; proper disposal of HDs; the proper use of equipment and devices used to handle HDs; proper use of personal protective equipment; how to respond if exposed to HDs; instruction in the pharmacy’s standard operating procedure for handling HDs; and how to manage spills of HDs.
Establishing Proper Procedures
To establish procedures for the safe use of HDs, the healthcare organization needs to first identify how each HD is handled. This could include activities such as receiving the drug, storage, compounding, dispensing, transport, administration, and disposal of the drugs.
For each HD, the healthcare organization needs to describe how the drug is handled, where it takes place, and any guidelines for environmental monitoring during handling of the drug, such as humidity and temperature. Guidelines need to include the persons who are allowed to handle the drugs, what training is required to handle the drugs properly, and how this training will be assessed.
Procedures, training, and evaluation of drug handling also must include how the drugs are received and packaged. The process needs to be described, along with explanations of how damaged packages are handled.
Training in compounding of HDs and evaluation of proficiency in compounding should follow the guidelines set forth in the U.S. Pharmacopeia.
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