How drug producers and hospitals protect their employees

the danger of chemo drugs

Cytotoxic Drug Production (Merck Band 5)

  1. - Requires extraordinary layers of protection for employees
  2. - Sealed sterile room
  3. - Robotic production required; absolutely no human intervention
  4. - Additional fully-contained protective environment suit

The drug producers and hospitals understand the extreme dangers accidental exposure to cytotoxic drugs (also called antineoplastic) pose to their employees.  Every step along the way from drug production through injection into the patient is carefully controlled to minimize the risk to the employees.  For this reason organizations responsible for employee protections (OSHA, NIOSH, Joint Commission and others) recommend strict employee protective guidelines.

Cytotoxic Drug Dispensing

  1. - Requires negative pressure rigid isolator
  2. - Specially trained pharmacists

Nursing Staff Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  1. - Impermeable coveralls and gowns
  2. - Head covering
  3. - Closed footwear
  4. - Overshoes
  5. - Gloves
  6. - Safety glasses
  7. - Respiratory protective devices
  8. - Please see Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook 2012

Dangers Continue Even After Drugs are Injected into Patient

The danger continues even after the cytotoxic drugs have been injected into the patient.  The warnings aboutthe danger of cytotoxic drugs in the patients’ waste were first provided by OSHA to hospitals and their employees in 1986 and have been repeatedly updated.   As stated by OSHA.

“Many HD's [cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs] are known human carcinogens, for which there is no safe level of exposure”.

The Sue Crump’s Story – how unintended contact with Chemotherapy Drugs kills cancer caregivers

  • For years, hospital pharmacist Sue Crump prepared chemotherapy drugs for patients.
  • Because hospital staff didn’t use proper protection, many developed terrible cancers
  • Before she died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, Sue wanted everyone to hear her story.
  • The cancer drugs she used to treat patients caused her cancer.   

The chemo drugs in patients’ urine, feces, vomit, sweat and saliva are the same drugs that caused Sue’s cancer.
Unless cancer patients’ families and caregivers protect themselves, they are in danger.



For more information on Sue Crump's Story

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