Nearly £15m has been spent on collecting medical waste in Scotland since the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services, figures show.
The Lanarkshire-based company went to the wall last December after becoming embroiled in a waste stockpiling scandal.
Contingency measures were put in place to remove waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy.
But NHS figures released to BBC Scotland show these costs have soared.
Between December last year and July this year, a total of £14.8m was spent on contingency waste measures by NHS National Services Scotland.
By contrast the deal with the firm taking over the waste collection contract for the next ten years, Spanish-owned Tradebe Healthcare, will be worth £10m a year.
Tradebe was meant to take over the contract in April but delays over planning permissions mean the firm is now not expected to be fully operational until October.
The Scottish government said the higher costs for the contingency measures come as a result of the additional measures required to be put in place at short notice following the collapse of HES.
But Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “By the health secretary’s own admission, the NHS in Scotland was put at risk by the clinical waste scandal and it is continuing to cost taxpayers millions of pounds.
“No one has taken responsibility for the crisis and despite no lessons being learned the Scottish government have handed a new contract to another private firm.
“NHS services are struggling to cope and patients can’t afford for money to be wasted like this.”
After HES collapsed, the Scottish government provided £1.4m towards initial contingency planning and a string of temporary contractors took over the HES work to ensure clinical waste continued to be disposed of safely.
The Scottish government has insisted the contingency measures are working well but there have been reports of a backlog of waste at some NHS sites.
In Inverness, four porters at Raigmore Hospital were injured carrying out work involving clinical waste, and photographs showing bags of clinical waste piled at three health centres in North Lanarkshire were posted on social media in January.
Some hospital waste from Scotland is to be sent to Wales for disposal under the new collection deal with Tradebe.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “National Services Scotland continues to work closely with NHS health boards, contractors, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Scottish government to deliver robust contingency plans to ensure NHS Scotland services to the public are maintained and patient services are not impacted.
“The current arrangements ensure clinical waste is appropriately stored, collected and disposed of in line with industry regulations.
“As we have said before, the cost of contingency – and ultimately maintaining NHS services – comes at a higher cost due to the additional measures required to be put in place at short notice following withdrawal of services by HES.
“We will know the final net cost of contingency at the end of current arrangements, when costs can be set against the unpaid contracted costs which would have been due to HES if they had not arbitrarily withdrawn from the contract.”