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Calif. bill would require sharps containers with diabetes needle, lancet purchases
May 16th, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council has voiced its opposition to legislation in California that would require people with diabetes to buy sharps disposal container each time they purchase needles and lancets.
The council said Friday that the state bill, CA A.B. 1893, would place a financial burden on the more than 2.4 million Californians with diabetes, who already bear significant costs in managing the disease.
According to the group, which is comprised of former chairmen and officers of the American Diabetes Association, mandating the purchase of specialty sharps disposal containers every time sharps are purchased, as often as once a month, would add as much as $10 to every pharmacy visit — a cost that Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers won' cover.
In addition, the smallest specialty sharps waste container typically offered holds far more than the average order of needles and lancets, meaning that diabetes patients would be required to buy a new container while they still have one at home.
The council noted that the Medical Waste Management Act currently doesn't require the purchase of specialty sharps disposal containers but encourages patients 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 resealable caps, such as laundry detergent bottles or plastic milk jugs, before disposal. A.B. 1893 aims to amend current legislation by requiring all sharps sold in California to be sold with a specialty sharps waste container.
"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," Stewart Perry, past national chairman of the American Diabetes Association, said in a statement. "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 council said it's urging the California Assembly to reconsider the provision requiring purchase of specialty sharps waste containers. The group instead recommends maintaining current disposal regulations and standards and better educating people with diabetes about proper sharps disposal.