The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) and Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) have partnered to develop a joint position statement in advance of an upcoming compliance deadline for U.S. Pharmacopeia Chapter <800> (USP <800>).

The joint position statement, titled “Ensuring Healthcare Worker Safety When Handling Hazardous Drugs,” is consistent with USP <800>, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recommendations.

Both professional associations have advocated their dedication to improving the safe delivery of antineoplastic agents by nurses and other healthcare providers across all health systems and practice sizes. The organizations formed a collaborative workgroup with members from both associations to develop the position statement. The ONS Board of Directors approved the final version in July, and the HOPA Board of Directors approved it in August.

“It’s so important to our organizations that we provide information and resources to protect our members from exposure to hazardous medications,” ONS President Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, said.

“We see the value of protecting the healthcare workers who manage and handle hazardous agents on a daily basis,” HOPA President Susanne Liewer, PharmD, BCOP, FHOPA, said. “If we don’t advocate for the safety of our members, who will?”

The joint position statement addresses the need for hazardous drug-related policies and procedures, education and training, and safe handling precautions in organizations in which hazardous drugs are present, including the use of personal protective equipment, safe work practices, and safety equipment. When used consistently, recommended precautions can reduce occupational hazardous drug exposure and environmental contamination and improve the safety of cancer treatment delivery.

View the entire joint position statement here.

About the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA)

HOPA is a nonprofit, education-based organization formed in 2004 to help oncology and hematology pharmacy practitioners and their associates the best possible cancer care. HOPA supports research, provides education, encourages professional development and advocates for health policy issues that improve patient care. HOPA serves more than 3,200 members in the fields of oncology pharmacy, pharmacy administration, and research, and includes pharmacy residents, interns, and technicians specializing in hematology/oncology practice. Learn more at hoparx.org.

About the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)

ONS is a professional association of more than 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.

Find resources and tools to help you safely administer hazardous drugs in your practice, including the Safe Handling Basics course (free for ONS members), Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs (third edition), and Toolkit for Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs for Nurses in Oncology, at ons.org. For specific questions about safe handling, email clinical@ons.org or reach out to us on social media with the hashtag #ONSsafehandling.