Hospitals Reuse Medical Devices To Lower Costs

From the Wall Street Journal:

In a bid to save costs and stem a rising tide of medical waste, hospitals are recycling a growing number of medical devices labeled as single-use, from scissors and scrubs to the sharp blades surgeons use to saw through bones.

Recycling medical devices labeled for single use is legal as long as certain Food and Drug Administration guidelines are followed. But the practice, which involves shipping devices to reprocessing facilities to be cleaned, sterilized and tested for reuse, has raised concerns about safety. Medical device makers say their single-use products are just that, and pose a higher risk of failure and harm when recycled. Reprocessing companies, hospital associations and environmental groups counter that the devices they reprocess are as safe as new thanks to modern sterilization methods, cost 40% to 60% less, and can eliminate thousands of tons of waste from landfills.