Arkansas Children’s Hospital Goes Green to Improve Community Health and Safety of Staff, Patients, Visitors

Little Rock, Ark. & Lake Forest, Ill. (Nov.  9) – Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has committed to minimizing environmental impact and making good decisions for the benefit of community health and safety by implementing Stericycle’s Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance program.  

A December 2009 study by the University of Chicago Hospitals published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the American health care sector accounts for 8 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint. The analysis found that hospitals are by far the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the health care sector.

“Arkansas Children’s Hospital strives to protect our patients – even when they’re not in our immediate care. By employing this new pharmaceutical waste program, we reinforce a promise to the community,” said David Berry, senior vice president and chief operating officer of ACH. “Kids deserve to grow up with clean water in the healthiest environment possible; this initiative brings us one step closer to that goal.”

A pharmaceutical waste compliance service helps hospitals address the growing concern of pharmaceutical waste that enters the public water system. The 1999-2000 U.S. Geological Survey found 80 percent of streams sampled had at least one waste contaminant. Waste contaminants included pharmaceutical drugs such as endocrine disrupters and antibiotics.

In a similar study in 2008, an Associated Press survey reported detection of pharmaceuticals in drinking water serving 41 million Americans. This result may not seem surprising when one considers that between 1993 and 2009, more than 1,500 drugs were approved by the FDA, nearly an 11 percent increase over 20081, and that hospitals are large users of pharmaceuticals for patient care. The average hospital pharmacy formulary contains between 2,000 and 5,000 drugs. 

Hospitals’ pharmaceutical waste typically includes partially dispensed drugs, which further complicates the disposal process. The Stericycle Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance program works directly with ACH to effectively and efficiently characterize, segregate, transport and properly dispose of drug waste to keep the hospital ahead of the compliance curve.

Stericycle works closely with the ACH staff to educate and train hospital teams on Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation regulations to meet regulatory standards, protect the community and environment, and to reduce risk associated with hazardous pharmaceuticals.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 85 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.

Lake Forest, IL-based Stericycle (NASDAQ: SRCL) is a leader in healthcare-related services that protect people and reduce risk. With more than 430,000 customers worldwide, Stericycle has operations in North America, Europe, and Latin America. Visit www.stericycle.com.

Statements in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control (for example, general economic conditions). Actual results could differ significantly from the results described in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences include changes in governmental regulation of medical waste collection and treatment and increases in transportation and other operating costs, as well as the other factors described in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result, past financial performance should not be considered a reliable indicator of future performance, and investors should not use historical trends to anticipate future results or trends. We make no commitment to disclose any subsequent revisions to forward-looking statements.   

1 source: The University Chicago Medical Center      
2 Source: www.accessdata.fda.gov.

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