Expired Drug Waste Management Optimization
Centralized oversight of expired drug waste decreases overall waste and improves creditworthy returns.
expired drugs

Lifepoint Health is a leading healthcare provider that serves patients, clinicians, communities, and partner organizations across the healthcare continuum. The company has a growing diversified healthcare delivery network comprised of 60 community hospital campuses, more than 60 rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals, and 250 additional sites of care, including managed acute rehabilitation units, outpatient centers, and post-acute care facilities.

Historically, the process for managing expired drug waste was not clear for this complex organization, and corporate oversight proved inefficient in providing guidance or standardization across the enterprise. Poor data visibility from the reverse distributor was the primary hurdle to oversight.  Lifepoint Health worked with its reverse distributor to improve data analytics tools to help improve outcomes for its 60 acute care community-based hospitals.

With potentially millions of dollars in annual expired waste costs, enterprise-wide level oversight of expired drug waste is necessary and is dependent on clear visibility into actual expired drug volume and cost data to effect change.


The first step was to improve the expired drug waste data collection process and data visibility. Lifepoint’s Pharmacy Operations lead worked with the reverse distributor’s team to develop a quarterly report worksheet that provided accurate detailed expired waste data per facility per quarter.  The report consisted of the following information: 

  • Division-level aggregated data
  • Facility-level totals and line-item data
  • Creditworthy Return Benchmarking Data:
    • National
    • Corporate
    • Division
    • Facility
  • Non-creditworthy expired returns Reason Codes
  • Hazardous waste codes

Secondly, a PowerPoint Summary Report was developed for specific facilities. Due to the considerable number of hospitals, inclusion criteria were developed to determine which hospitals would receive a quarterly PowerPoint Summary Report and which would not.

Summary Reports are described below:

  • PowerPoint Content
  • Creditworthy returns, non-creditworthy returns, and total expired drug waste cost per facility
  • Total expired drug line items and % of Division Total expired waste line items
  • Non-creditworthy return totals per reason code
  • RCRA U and P listed HD Returns (if applicable)
  • Raw return data for non-creditworthy non-controlled drugs for top 150–200-line items.
  • Actions to decrease expired drug waste, guidance on what to include in reverse distributor returns and what not to return.

The PowerPoint template was completed with data from the reverse distributor’s quarterly report for each eligible hospital and emailed to the Director of Pharmacy and Division Director of Pharmacy Operations with requests to review the report for opportunities for improvement regarding expired drug waste management.


The reports and recommendations provided to the Directors of Pharmacy resulted in a 4% decrease in expired drug waste volumes, a 9.1% increase in creditworthy returns, and a 16.4% decrease in cost reduction from 2020-2022.


The creation of a reverse distributor quarterly detailed Expired Drug Review Report was key to central oversight of expired drug waste for Lifepoint Health’s acute care hospitals. The reports allowed for timely analytics and process improvement recommendations.