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May 12, 1975

Drug Waste

Author Affiliations

Tucson, Ariz

JAMA. 1975;232(6):595. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250060011004

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To the Editor.—  Multiple-dose vials are convenient and serve to lower the cost of medications. However, to use the drugs within the vials economically, it is important to note the method of medication withdrawal.I have noted that many physicians consistently withdraw 3 to 5 ml of the drug and then squirt out 1 to 3 ml of the drug to get the air bubbles out or give a convenient volume in the syringe. An excellent example of waste resulting from such a practice is the widespread practice among anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, intensive care personnel, and others to withdraw 1 to 2 ml of heparin (1:1,000) with a 2- to 5-ml syringe and then squirt all the heparin on the floor except that filling the dead space of the needle and syringe! The combined result of such waste throughout the country must be considerable.My plea is for each of