Friday Five (August 18, 2023)

The August 18, 2023 edition of the Friday Five is now available.

Ensuring Safe Disposal: Destruction of Controlled Substances 

Proper disposal of controlled substances (narcotic, controlled and targeted drugs) within a pharmacy setting is critical to maintaining public safety and adhering to legal and ethical obligations. Effective destruction protocols prevent potential diversion and contribute to responsible pharmaceutical waste management.  

There are two options for the destruction of controlled substances: 
  1. Local Destruction: The pharmacist destroys the drugs at the pharmacy. 
  2. Licensed Dealer: The pharmacist sends the drugs to a third party authorized by Health Canada to destroy controlled substances.  
Please note the following key components of proper destruction protocols: 
  1. Security: Controlled substances need to remain secure until they are destroyed. Before destruction, controlled substances must be kept in the safe and counted regularly (at least every three months and immediately before destruction). This ensures accountability and minimizes the risk of unauthorized access.  
  2. Documentation: Accurate and thorough documentation of every step in the destruction process is critical. This includes recording the names and quantities of narcotics, the destruction method employed, and the individuals responsible for overseeing the process. 
  3. Witnesses and Verification: Local destruction must be witnessed by at least one individual other than the individual performing the destruction. A witness can be another pharmacist, a listed pharmacy technician, a pharmacy intern or a practitioner. A pharmacy assistant is not an acceptable witness. The witnesses should sign off on the documentation, affirming the accuracy of the process. 
  4. Secure Destruction Methods: Choose destruction methods that render the controlled substances irretrievable and non-recoverable. The method used must denature the drugs, so consumption is impossible or highly improbable; this is not achieved by mixing controlled substances with water alone.   

Pharmacy destruction protocols are essential to maintaining the integrity of pharmaceutical care and preventing the diversion of controlled substances. By adhering to regulatory guidelines, documenting every step, employing secure destruction methods, and involving authorized personnel, pharmacies contribute to public safety and demonstrate their commitment to responsible pharmaceutical waste management. 

For more information, please view the recent recording of the professional development webinar titled, From Policy to Practice: A Joint Webinar on Narcotic Accountability with the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba and Health Canada, as well as the following resources on controlled substance destruction: 

Applicable Health Canada guidelines and resources: 
Applicable CPhM practice directions, guidelines and resources: 

ISMP Article – Confusion between Vaccine Expiry and Beyond-Use Dates Leads to Multi-Patient Incident 

As pharmacy professionals gear up to transition into the vaccine season, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP Canada) has released a timely safety bulletin concerning the incorporation of COVID-19 vaccines into pharmacy workflow. The introduction of vaccines to protect against COVID-19 marked a pivotal shift in pandemic management due to evolving knowledge, resulting in frequent modifications to stability, storage protocols, and labelling. This presented healthcare providers with challenges when administering the vaccines. 

The ISMP bulletin centers around the subsequent learning objectives: 
  1. Extracting insights from an analysis of a multi-patient incident wherein the administration of COVID-19 vaccines beyond their beyond-use date (BUD) occurred. 
  2. Detailing the incident’s context, analysis findings, and contributory factors, focusing on labelling challenges, vaccine inventory management, and the accessibility of vaccine information. 
  3. Providing recommendations aimed at vaccine manufacturers, medical information, public health units, and healthcare organizations, underlining the necessity for enhanced labelling, training, and inventory management to avert comparable incidents in the future. 
  4. Spotlighting the significance of involving the community and drawing insights from patient perspectives. 

Click here for the full ISMP bulletin. 

Safety IQ – We Want to Hear from You 

One of the goals of Safety IQ is to support shared learning between Manitoba pharmacies about medication incidents, near-miss events, continuous quality improvements, and medication safety. If your pharmacy has experienced an incident or near-miss event that would be a good learning opportunity for other pharmacies, please forward your story to the Safety IQ team at  

Your story will be shared with the profession through CPhM publications, and any identifying information about the pharmacy or staff will be kept anonymous. For some examples of shared learning contributions of pharmacy professionals on medication incidents, please see the latest edition of Directions, the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals’ (SCPP) Newsletter specific to the SCPP COMPASS CQI program and medication and patient safety. 

Notice of CPhM Office Hours Closure for September Long Weekend 

Please be advised that the CPhM office will be closed on Monday, September 4, 2023, in observance of Labour Day. 

Regular office hours will resume on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.