Remaining HIPAA Compliant
The issue of disposing of both prescription pill bottles and any leftover medications is an issue of concern for both medical providers and individuals. For pharmacists, hospitals, and other medical organizations covered by HIPAA, the issue deals with patient information on the pill bottles and labels as well as the drugs themselves. As a source of personal information, the bottles and any labels must be destroyed in a compliant manner. Additionally, destroying any drugs they may contain is covered by separate rules in each state.
While some medical providers have specially designed machines for shredding pill bottles, those bottles are normally not something you turn in for recycling, especially with your personal information on them.
Tricks to Disposing Unwanted Medication
If you have expired drugs at home, we recommend you follow the state guidelines and remove the drugs from the pill bottles. Do not flush them down the toilet. Rather, place them in a plastic bag and add some type of waste to make them unusable, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds. This helps keeps the drugs from being consumed by children or animals.
Shredding Pill Bottles for Medical Providers
In addition to disposing of your unwanted pills and medications properly, you will want to ensure your bottles do not disclose personal information before you throw them out. You can peel off the label, use a permanent marker on them, or scratch off your name and prescription number. Identity thieves can use this information in a number of ways if they get the information off a pill bottle in your trash.
If you are a pharmacy or medical professional concerned about shredding pill bottles, contact us for assistance with solutions. We handle all types of HIPAA compliance issues, from printed documents to electronic devices. Our team of professionals can advise you on how to remain compliant in disposing of all HIPAA-covered information.