Background The Italian Law no. 38 of 15 March 2010, has considerably simplified the prescribing and dispensing of medicinal products for the treatment of pain. The law regulates all matters concerning the medical treatment that the Italian state provides to citizens through the National Health Service.
National networks are also in place for palliative care and the treatment of pain, which provide guidelines for implementing the Hospital Territory Without Pain project.
Purpose To examine whether pharmacy compounding can improve the service offered, optimise the time and resources used for preparation, and whether this will require the allocation of new resources.
Materials and Methods Since the beginning of 2011 the San Giovanni Bosco hospital pharmacy has used morphine bags at levels of 2% morphine per 100 ml to prepare elastomeric infusion pumps for analgesic treatment in addition to vials used. The aim was to monitor how the consumption of morphine was changing by comparing the quantities consumed in 2010 and 2011. This was done using data from the controlled drugs register.
Results In 2011, the quantity of morphine consumed increased by 4.5%. The amount of morphine waste from broken elastomeric infusion pumps, expired vials and bags, bags left unused due to death of the patient or change of treatment and bags with unused content increased in total by 94%. 35% of morphine destroyed was deemed outside of its validity period while 62% of elastomeric infusion pumps were returned to the pharmacy as faulty. Despite the increase in expired morphine and the increase in morphine purchased there has been a reduction in spending of approximately 28%.
Conclusions This analysis allowed us to verify that the use of morphine bags has led to a slight reduction in expenditure. It is also important to emphasise the easier fitting of the infusers by operators which leads to time savings.
No conflict of interest.