SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council (NDVLC) strongly opposes proposed legislation (CA AB 1893) that would place undue financial burden on people with diabetes by requiring the purchase of sharps disposal containers each and every time they purchase needles and lancets.
Currently the Medical Waste Management Act does not require the purchase of specialty sharps disposal containers, but instead, patients are encouraged to properly dispose of sharps as directed by their local authorities. For example, in Sacramento, people are instructed to enclose sharps in strong plastic containers with re-sealable caps (such as laundry detergent bottles or plastic milk jugs) prior to disposal.[i] The bill seeks to amend current legislation, and require that all sharps sold in California be sold with a specialty sharps waste container.
While benign in intent, this pending legislation has the potential for dramatic unintended consequences for the more than 2.4 million Californians with diabetes. For many with diabetes, the cost of managing their disease is already significant. Requiring purchase of specialty sharps disposal containers every time sharps are purchased, as often as once a month, will add as much as $10 to every pharmacy visit. Costs that Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers will not cover. Worse yet, the smallest specialty sharps waste container typically offered holds far more than the average order of needles and lancets would require. With this proposed legislation, patients would be required to purchase a new container while they still have a perfectly good one at home.
"We understand the need to protect waste handlers, but there is limited to no data indicating that specialty sharps containers are any safer than other hard plastic containers," said Stewart Perry, past national chair of the board of the American Diabetes Association. "On the other hand, great harm can come from adding this additional burden onto the shoulders of Californians with diabetes. By creating additional barriers to proper disease management, this legislation could mean the difference between a patient testing or not – and that could surely have a grave impact."
The NDVLC urges members of the California Assembly to reconsider this provision requiring purchase of specialty sharps waste containers. We recommend maintaining current disposal regulations and standards, and working to better educate patients with diabetes about proper sharps disposal.
About National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council
The National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council is an organization comprised of former chairs of the board and past officers of the American Diabetes Association who are committed to ensuring the well-being of diabetes patients across the country.
SOURCE National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council