Handling toxic drugs

Broken vials, shattered glass, and exposure to contents are every drug handler's nightmare. A simple fix from Iwata improves safety for healthcare workers and others.

LIVE FROM Pharma EXPO: Handling toxic drugs
LIVE FROM Pharma EXPO: Handling toxic drugs

Editor's Note: This article was written live from Pharma EXPO.

How to prevent the Zombie Apocalypse? It could be as simple as preventing a vial from breaking.

Vials of expensive cancer drugs can be highly toxic, and when a glass vial shatters and the contents are scattered, there are dire health consequences for those who package, transport, administer, and discard the drugs. Not to mention costly cleanup and decontamination procedures in the event of breakage.

In his presentation, “Risk in the Workplace—Preventing Shattered Vials and Protecting Handlers of Highly Toxic Drugs,” Chris Ostein of Iwata Label presented two designs to minimize the risk of breakage.

VPP I uses a plastic (PET) plate attached to the bottom of the vial, followed by a PE “shrink-tack” label for a cushioning effect.

VPP II goes even further and adds a PET cup to enclose the glass vial, followed by the PE shrink tack label.

Extensive drop testing from various heights proved that the two methods were a vast improvement over unprotected vials, and offer the further advantage of allowing the drug packager to in many cases reduce the amount of secondary packaging, such as paperboard dividers and spacers, needed for the vials. And even if breakage of the glass vial occurs, the shrink wrap keeps the contents contained.

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