National Academies of Medicine’s Climate Collaborative Recommends
Hospitals Use More FDA Regulated Reprocessed Devices as Strategy to Reduce
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
[22 May 2023 / Washington, D.C. and Berlin] As part of its Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the
U.S. Health Sector, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is recommending the use of reprocessed
medical devices as one of several key steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. health systems.
NAM encourages health systems to reduce their dependence on single-use plastics, switch from
disposable to reusable products, and “[optimize] reprocessing as allowed per FDA regulations.”
“The NAM recommendation to reprocess more single-use medical devices is another sign that
researchers and regulators are recognizing that reprocessing represents a ‘low hanging fruit’ solution
for slashing waste, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions from the health sector,” said Daniel Vukelich,
President and CEO of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors. “With hospitals generating
more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire aviation sector, we have to embrace solutions like
reprocessing that are proven and available immediately.”
NAM joins the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to become the second federal
government entity or national-level organization that advocate for reprocessing to help reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. In September 2022, AHRQ released a primer on “Measures and Actions for
Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change.” The primer also encouraged reprocessing as a
“key strategy” for health systems to meet their decarbonization goals.
“To meaningfully reduce emissions within this domain and improve resilience,” the primer stated,
“healthcare organizations must shift away from single-use disposable devices and expand reusable
inventories to maximize material value and minimize pollution.”
In response to growing interest within the health sector in reprocessing, Mr. Vukelich will present at
CleanMed 2023 on May 23, in Pittsburgh, Penn. on the value of reprocessing as a more sustainable
About the Worldwide Commercial Reprocessing Industry
Reprocessing, known as “remanufacturing” in Europe, is well regulated and practiced in 19
countries. Pioneered in the United States with strong regulation from the Food and Drug
Administration, the industry has grown from roughly $20 million in 2000 to over $460M in 2021.
Over 10,500 hospitals and surgical centers, including all US News & World Report “Top Hospitals,”
all U.S. military hospitals, and 23 German University hospitals used reprocessed SUDs in 2021. If all
U.S. hospitals used reprocessed devices at the rate of the top 10% performing hospitals (in terms of
the number of devices they reprocess), U.S. hospitals would save nearly $2.5 billion. [All data
courtesy of www.AMDR.org].
The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors is the global trade association for the regulated,
commercial single-use device reprocessing and remanufacturing industry. For 23 years, AMDR has
promoted reprocessing and remanufacturing as an important healthcare strategy that helps
hospitals and healthcare providers increase quality, reduce costs, waste and emissions, and
strengthen the supply chain.
AMDR protects the interests of its members in regulation, legislation and standard-setting. AMDR
members include Arjo ReNu Medical, Innovative Health, Medline Renewal, NEScientific, Stryker
Sustainable Solution, Sustainable Technologies (a Cardinal Health Business), and Vanguard AG.
Having played a key role in the establishment of the reprocessing industry, AMDR continues to
push the global medical technology industry, leading the way for remanufacturing to play a defining
role in the evolution of new device technologies.
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