Background The overall expenditure on pharmaceuticals in hospitals is rising. It is important to use tendering processes to obtain lower prices. At the same time, drug shortages are an increasing challenge threatening patient safety.
Sykehusapotekene HF (SAHF) operates 15 state-owned hospital pharmacies. The four health regions in Norway and SAHF have formalised an agreement to manage the Drug Procurement Cooperation (LegemiddelInnkjøpSamarbeidet (LIS)) through the tendering process.
Purpose To describe the role of the hospital pharmacist in the drug tendering process in Norway.
Materials and methods SAHF has a duty to contribute to patient safety and reduce the cost of hospital pharmaceuticals in addition to being the medicines competence centre. An important task of the pharmacist is to provide the administrative resources to the annual LIS tendering process.
The drugs are chosen according to strict criteria and priority rules.
The acceptance criteria are: Price (40%), functional characteristics (40%), delivery security (15%) and service (5%).
Dedicated pharmacists from each hospital pharmacy act in the role of contact person for LIS. They coordinate the process within the hospital, making sure that the medicines committee has the right basis and knowledge to make good choices. Functional criteria such as stability, compatibility, formulation and reconstitution are important aspects and often require additional investigation by the pharmacist.
As a result of input from the hospital pharmacists a new criterion was added for 2014 – delivery security.
The pharmacist brings the new contracts into effect by making and distributing a list of all the chosen substances and their synonyms. They ensure a high degree of loyalty to the chosen suppliers making sure that the ward drug stores are in accordance to the lists thus at the same time reducing synonyms and medicines risks.
Results The drug tendering process reduced the overall cost of pharmaceuticals in Norwegian hospitals by 27% in 2013.
Conclusions The drug tendering process is cost effective for the hospitals. The daily involvement of the hospital pharmacist is important to ensure that procurement quality is achieved.
No conflict of interest.
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