ASCO has responded to changing health-care standards by submitting comments to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) on the revised version of its proposed General Chapter 800, “Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings.” While ASCO notes some positive changes to the proposal, the Society urges further revisions to avoid hardships for community-based oncology practices.
In a letter to USP, Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chair of the ASCO Task Force on Safe Handling of Chemotherapy, urged the organization to provide flexibility to community-based oncology practices in enhancing workplace safety. The proposed General Chapter 800 contains potentially burdensome requirements for oncology practices when handling toxic materials. Moreover, there is no scientific or clinical evidence demonstrating that such requirements would have a positive impact on patients or practice staff.
ASCO has offered to work with USP on standards that are practical for ensuring the safe handling of chemotherapy drugs. ASCO has previously worked with organizations to improve worker safety around dangerous drugs and issued a joint statement with the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association and the Oncology Nursing Society.
If and when USP releases a final General Chapter 800, ASCO will work with the State Affiliates to closely monitor any state-level action to adopt the recommendations.
Please follow ASCO in Action (www.asco.org/advocacy) as this issue unfolds. To read ASCO’s letter, please go to: http://www.asco.org/sites/www.asco.org/files/may_2015_asco_usp_800_comments.pdf. ■
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