Medicine Management and POM disposals

Yellow kit bag

We get a lot of questions about prescription only medicines (POMs) disposal, so we thought we’d share some of the top Q&As here for you.

Q: Can I take out of date (OOD) medications back to hospital (for example in NSC) or send them to Dunstable storage (Beds & Herts)?

A: No according to new Clinical SOP 05 – Disposal of Out of date drugs and denaturing of controlled drugs, all drugs should be disposed of at station. Please print and read the amended CSOP from East24.

Q: Can we keep OOD prescription only medicines (POMs) stocks together with in date drugs?

A: Out of date medications can be in the same cupboard as in date drugs, but only on separate shelves, in a locked container and clearly marked ‘expired not for use’. This will minimise the risk of accidental administration. If stations have capacity a separate drugs facility can be used. Please note out of date drugs should never be stored outside a locked container.

Q: I have a drug with a four weeks to expiry date. Can it still stay in a drug bag?

A: For drugs which are very close or have passed their use by date, these must be changed. For drugs within four weeks of their expiry date, they can be changed for in date drugs.

Q: Where can I order a pharmaceutical bin?

 A: All stations are able to order specific yellow drugs waste bins (pharmaceutical bins) with a blue lid from one of the Trust stores (Dunstable, Chelmsford, Norwich).

Q: What should I do when bin is full?

A: When the bin is 75% full, it should be sealed with inventory form (Annex A from CSOP05 - bottom page) attached to it. The email should be sent to with the information that the bin is full and requires removal by a clinical waste courier, along with full details of the location to be collected from. The bins without inventory list will not be taken. The bins must have the site ID label on it as is the case with sharps bins & bagged waste. We will generally collect OOD drugs at the next scheduled collection from that site. The inventory should be inside a plastic sleeve allowing for us to scan the document for archive purposes. We would also recommend that the full completed OOD drugs bins are placed inside the sharps bin cart on site if possible.

Q: Are the yellow bins are changing?

 A: We have considered feedback from stations and decided to move from bins with a comprehensive lid, to bins where the lid is attached all the time and have a flap to place the drugs. To seal the bin, you will have to seal only the flap. Photos are below:

 Q: When should I dispose OOD stocks?

A: Although drugs can be disposed of by end of March, we will not be able to guarantee to collect them by then. Drugs can be stored on site for up to 3 months after the date of disposal and would normally be collected at the next scheduled visit.

Q: I have OOD bags of sodium chloride and glucose, what should I do with that?

 A: You can dispose of the contents and place the packing in normal waste bins.

Published 31st March, 2016

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