Single vs reusable sharps containers – the squabble intensifies

Just 2 days after we identified upcoming research data that was to implicate reusable sharps bins in Clostridium difficile infection among hospital patients, the warring between the two camps intensifies.

Becton Dickinson (BD), the sponsors of this latest research, and major manufacturer of single use sharps bins, has published on its website the APIC poster presentation referred to previously, and now reproduced here.

It’s good to see the ‘evidence’, though as evidence goes it seems particularly weak and heavily slanted toward the sponsor. That is of course exactly as can be seen with the on-going stream of inconclusive papers published from the re-usable camp.

It’s regrettable that authors and their sponsors, especially in circumstances where commercial sponsorship has not been disclosed and/or is denied, cannot work to an acceptable scientific standard and devise studies of sufficiently robust design to answer the questions that they pose. Instead, the evidence is weak or non-existent and the papers are almost meaningless, save to the respective advertising departments who will delight in the claims made and seem to care little about the strength of the evidence presented in support.

Until the studies are redesigned with care, and undertaken by properly independent researchers who can ensure a statistically sound sample size and sound interpretation of the results then all of the hype about the advantages of reusable sharps bins and clinical waste bins, and this latest data about the apparent advantage of the single-use product, should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Or, even better, ignore it completely.



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