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Carefusion acquires technology for automatic pharma waste sorting

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | April 06, 2011
Carefusion's Pyxis EcoStation
Medical technology giant Carefusion said Wednesday it completed the acquisition of Vestara, a developer of pharmaceutical waste management solutions, for $17 million.

With the purchase of the Irvine, Calif.-based company, Carefusion is expanding its Pyxis medication management portfolio with the Pyxis EcoStation. The new product is a hardware and software system that enables hospitals to "identify, classify and segregate pharmaceutical waste," and track the information for regulatory controls, according to the company.

Pyxis EcoStation employs a barcode technology to identify drugs and a database of drug products that categorize and sort pharmaceutical waste during the disposal process.

"Pharmaceutical waste management is a challenging issue, with many of the nation's hospitals remaining non-compliant due to complex handling requirements specific to each medication classification, and varying regulations at federal, state and local levels," Tom Leonard, president of dispensing technologies at CareFusion, said in a statement.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been zeroing in on health facilities that are improperly disposing of pharma waste. In August 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Kansas Health Care System got in trouble for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's hazardous waste guidelines.

The health system had to shell out $51,502 in civil penalties and was ordered to improve its hazardous waste management processes, which cost nearly $500,000.

And in January 2010, five health care facilities settled with New York State by agreeing to stop flushing pharmaceutical waste. A 2008 investigation by the Associated Press found a range of pharmaceuticals to be present in the drinking water supply of 41 million Americans across major metropolitan areas.

CareFusion will demonstrate its Pyxis EcoStation system at the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists' 2011 Summer Meeting and Exhibition in Denver, Colo., in mid-June.

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