Disposition of Unused Medical Supplies

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This research project investigates the waste associated with the disposal of unused medical supplies, the current methods used to repurpose and donate unused medical supplies, and the barriers associated with repurposing and donating unused medical supplies. A literature review and an interview with an expert in the field has been conducted. The research done for this project suggests that it is possible to decrease the disposal of unused medical supplies. One example of a means waste disposal can be decreased is by resterilizing open and unused medical supplies with hydrogen peroxide vapor. Another means the waste of disposal can be decreased is through the establishment of a collection, repurposing, and donation program. Examples of programs that currently exist include Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World (REMEDY), Recycling Unused Medical Supplies (RUMS), MedShare, and Project Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment (CURE). Studies done with hydrogen peroxide vapor and the collection, repurposing, and donation programs show a decrease in money spent in healthcare systems and reduced waste in landfills. Along with the positive aspects of these methods, there are a handful of barriers that need to be addressed. These include deterioration of desterilized supplies, warranty issues of donated supplies, the responsibility of impoverished countries to desterilize the donated supplies, an overabundance of incorrect supplies donated to charities, the fallacy that individual action will not create a measurable difference, and little regulation of medical supplies that are in hospital supply rooms. Results of this project can help future investigations devise plans to effectively collect, repurpose, and donate medical supplies. Healthcare systems worldwide will benefit from this project because they will have a better understanding of the issue along with the barriers that still need to be overcome.



Supplies, Medical, Unused, Disposal