Chemotherapy waste reduction through shelf-life extension. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Minimization of total drug expenditures within the health care system, without affecting patient outcome has become a rational goal in today's economic, environment. The objective of this study was to observe the effect of extending the shelf-life for three chemotherapy medications, [doxorubicin, epirubicin and mitoxantrone] on wastage of these medications. Prior to and following the introduction of new, longer, shelf-lives for these three medications, prospective, non-randomized, unblinded four-month chemotherapy wastage audits for all chemotherapy medications were completed at 18 institutional sites within Ontario (six Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation clinics, ten Ontario hospitals and two preparation sites in a large cancer treatment centre). Data were provided by 18 sites in 1989 but from only 12 sites in 1990. Ten of the 12 sites extended their shelf-lives for each of doxorubicin, epirubicin and mitoxantrone, and on average, waste at these sites was reduced to less than 1% of the 1989 total for epirubicin, less than 15% for doxorubicin and 35% for mitoxantrone. Many sites eliminated waste entirely for these drugs. For sites which did not extend their shelf-lives, the waste remained unchanged. We conclude that appropriate extension of the shelf-life for chemotherapy medications can reduce waste, and is a relatively simple method of reducing expenditures without affecting health outcomes or adding additional complications to IV chemotherapy.

publication date

  • February 1994