How Genentech Supports the Safe Collection and Proper Disposal of Used Sharps

Genentech is recognized as a sustainability leader and is committed to acting as a responsible corporate citizen in all of its activities.

We've taken steps to prevent unintentional needle-stick injuries among our patients, their families and others who may handle sharps used with our self-injected medicines.

As a manufacturer, we have responsibility -along with doctors, pharmacists, municipalities and patients - to help facilitate the proper handling and disposal of needles. We take this responsibility seriously, and work to educate patients about how to safely handle and dispose of our products.

General resources available to patients

To support our commitment to preventing needle-stick injuries we provide a number of resources to our patients, including:

  • injection devices with protective sheaths
  • sharps containers
  • information and tools on safe injection and proper syringe disposal

As a general resource, we offer a tool to help patients find local sharps disposal locations for their used sharps. “Dealing with Used Sharps Responsibly: A Guide for Patients,” links to information about disposal locations throughout the United States provided by state and local governments and other organizations.

Guidance on proper use and disposal of sharps for specific medicines

Genentech currently markets and sells four self-injected medicines in California:

  • Actemra (tocilizumab) for injection
  • Fuzeon (enfuvirtide)
  • Nutropin [somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection]
  • Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a)


ACTEMRA pre-filled syringes are available for once weekly or once-every-other week injections for patients with moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pre-filled syringes are provided with an automatic needle shield that is activated at the end of the injection process, with the shield extending down over the needle, and locking in place to prevent re-use and accidental needle-stick injuries.

Patients starting on ACTEMRA pre-filled injections are provided a comprehensive Patient Starter Kit which contains detailed instructional brochures and DVD with information on how to properly dispose of the syringes, which includes the following guidance:

Materials in the ACTEMRA starter kit also encourage patients to register for ACTEMRA’s patient support program to receive a free sharps container (no purchase necessary). After the patient registers for the “ACTEMRA & you” patient support program and requests a sharps container, it is mailed directly to the patient for their use, along with information regarding the free of charge retrieval and disposal service offered to patients once the container is filled.

Genentech also provides ACTEMRA patients with instructions for accessing the ACTEMRA Nurse hot-line on (1-800-228-3672) for any questions and a webpage at containing educational materials, including an instructional injection video, medication guide and instructions for use and guidance regarding the safe disposal of ACTEMRA pre-filled syringes.


Fuzeon is supplied as a powder that must be reconstituted. Patients are provided with a “convenience kit,” which contains all items necessary for use of Fuzeon, including safety syringes for reconstituting and injecting the medicine. Specialty pharmacies providing Fuzeon to patients also provide sharps containers to Fuzeon patients free of charge. In addition, patients and/or caregivers can obtain sharps containers from Genentech free of charge.

Fuzeon patient information literature references safe injection and appropriate disposal of used sharps. Patients are encouraged to not throw used sharps into trash or recycling containers and to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy for disposal information.


Nutropin provides safe management and collection education to patients and caregivers in a number of ways. Nutropin is distributed through specialty pharmacies, which are contracted to provide appropriate needle disposal methods to patients. All patients receive a Patient Education Kit. The kits include instructional brochures and a DVD, which communicates the need for proper disposal of used sharps. The information encourages patients to contact their healthcare provider for proper disposal methods. Patients may also call the Nutropin Nurse Hotline (866-Nutropin) for information on proper disposal and to obtain a sharps container.


Pegasys is a once-weekly injectable which is supplied as a solution in vials, pre-filled syringes, as well as an autoinjector (“ProClick”). The pre-filled syringes include a needle guard.  The needle in the autoinjector is not exposed and includes a safety shield.

The Pegasys team provides a variety of resources to patients to encourage the proper handling and disposal of sharps. The key resource is the Patient Starter Kit. A free sharps container is provided with every Starter Kit. Instruction on proper needle disposal is provided on the container itself. The website address for the “Dealing with Used Sharps Responsibly” page and the 800 number where patients can inquire about sharps disposal are listed on the container. The Patient Starter Kit also includes a self-injection guide and patient information DVD, which both include information about proper handling and disposal of used needles.

Genentech also provides a website,, which makes available to patients printable copies of self-injection guides which include information about proper needle disposal for syringes and vials as well as the prefilled syringe and the autoinjector.  In addition, patients may download from the website the FDA approved Pegasys Medication Guide, which also includes information on how to properly dispose of used needles, syringes and the autoinjector.

The information above also comprises Genentech’s plan for the safe collection and proper disposal of self-injected medical devices under California Public Resources Code section 47115 and Minnesota Statutes section 116.835.