Select Page

An Opinion on Casework and USP 800 Compliance

An Opinion on Laboratory Casework

Hello to all my compounding pharmacy friends and colleagues my name is Bryan Prince and I am a compounding workflow and lab design consultant and I specialize in USP <800> compliant environments.  In this brief video I want to talk about casework, those surfaces that we put inside our compounding rooms, sterile and nonsterile.  The language of the USP chapters moving forward for USP <797> and USP <800> are kind of like this…  Surfaces must be smooth, impervious, free from cracks and crevices and non-shedding, so I’m not really a fan of cabinets in general.  I’ll talk about that in just a minute but melamine and laminates cabinets actually have a particle board core and often times I will see cabinet doors in a compounding pharmacy are damaged due to carts or general wear and tear and starting to delaminate and expose that natural particle board core. Oftentimes I will see cabinet doors that are damaged due to carts or traffic or just general wear and the doors are starting to delaminate and expose that core.  You can also reach on top of some of those cabinet surfaces and feel the exposed particle board and that would be considered shedding surface because it is not finished.  You can even open the cabinet doors to see certain surfaces that were not fully covered, so my opinion is that you steer away from laminates and melamine in a sterile and nonsterile hazardous drug compounding lab.

What are recommended casework or shelving finishes in a USP <800> hazardous drug room?

Moving forward in USP compliant environments you can certainly choose stainless steel, painted or powder coated metals, phenolic resin and/or epoxy finished surfaces.  More expensive but great materials are polypropylene and ABS plastics, but you can never go wrong with stainless steel.  However, now that we have this process in the USP <800> chapter defined as the called the DDCD process, which is deactivation, decontamination, cleaning and disinfecting with varying residence time for the chemicals do accomplish the process, whether it’s three minutes or five minutes and how many cycles and what you’re actually trying to do can certainly start to degrade some of those surface.  Those chemicals also leave a surfactant and that sticky surface can start to degrade those materials.  Over time you may pitting of the metal stainless and it can

certainly, start to degrade painted metal so you may want to be cautious with that especially in sterile environments.  Painted or powder coated metal may be more applicable more for non-sterile hazardous compounding rooms. 

The last thing that I will say about casework in general is it I prefer an open shelving concept. I have found that oftentimes cabinet doors create kind of a physical and psychological barrier where maybe we do not feel like we have to always clean inside of those.  I could probably prove to you that those are sometimes some of the dirtiest surfaces inside the compounding rooms.  The open showing concept allows us to put those disposable weigh boats, weighing spatulas, wipers, topi-clicks, unguator jars any of those things inside of plastic containers and slide them in and out easily inside the casework.  The methodology of workflow and making things easy to clean is so much easier and saves quite a bit of time because no one in the compounding pharmacy really likes to clean.  It’s just not fun. 

By utilizing an open shelving concept, we allow more sweeping and dilution of airflow.  If you see me talk about in previous videos the design criteria for compounding rooms for both sterile and non-sterile compounding labs is to move the air from the ceiling all the way down to the floor so that we can sweep the rooms.  We should be cleaning the floors of our compounding rooms every day, especially in those sterile environments, so if your pharmacy has an open shelving concept it certainly will allow more of that air dispersion around to get to the low wall returns or exhausts to sweep out those spaces.

If you have any questions or comments about this concept or just want to have a discussion about laboratory casework, compounding workflow, or other ideas related to USP compliance, certainly call me at 2228-239-6842 or email me