Vote no on contamination

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Federal agencies are stepping up to improve the quality of life, and those efforts all have one thing in common: Contamination control. But the approach seems rather unbalanced.

On one hand, there's the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research effort to establish protocols that would ensure the sterility during drug compounding and medical product preparation. That medical standard would silence what one pharmacist calls a “quiet carnage” in hospitals.

On the other hand, the FDA has given the OK for single-use medical devices to be reused, a great recycling effort, but an oxymoron in terms, for the products the FDA lists as suitable for reprocessing were meant to be used just once.

Then, there's the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, a food inspection policy shift that even the USDA's Office of Inspector General says gives “the industry, not the government, the primary responsibility of ensuring the safety of meat and poultry.”

We at CleanRooms applaud federal agency efforts to corner the spread of disease, but it seems that the government's left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing. There does not seem to be any cohesiveness between government agencies to collectively tackle life-threatening bacteria that finds its way into our medicines and food.

Wouldn't it make sense to make food, drugs and medical products safer underneath one umbrella of protection? Instead, it seems to be situational ethics, but the federal government is not completely to blame.

There are plenty of you who have responded to comment periods and assisted in these and similar efforts. As for the rest, what do you have to say?

You, the contamination control professional, have the insight to help correct these improprieties. Think of it as the same civic duty you carried out by going to the polls last month.

So, go forth ye senators of sanitation, you kings of change.

Mark A. DeSorbo
Associate Editor


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