Background Our pharmacy has recently purchased an automated storage and dispensing robot (Rowa VMAX). While offering greater safety and better management of pharmaceuticals, automated globalised distribution encounters limits: unit doses and bulky pharmaceuticals cannot be stored in this type of robot contributing to the loss of the benefits of automation.
Such a system is not suitable for the management of Medication Units Free of Secondary Packaging (MUF-SP) when drugs are returned from the wards to the pharmacy.
Purpose To present an original management system for MUF-SP and to measure its financial impact.
Material and methods We developed software that enabled us to print a DATAMATRIX specific label recognised by our robot when we entered the drug reference, an expiry date and the batch number.
Boxes were purchased to allow the Recycling of Drug Units (RDU) and were identified by their label. Returned drugs put in one of these boxes join the conventional automated system of globalised distribution.
Eligibility criteria for the RDU were: a unit price between €0.50 and 5 (for medicines distributed at least once a week); units over €5 and all the antibiotics.
Over one month, the amounts saved by not discarding the units eligible for the RDU and the costs of the whole process were estimated.
Results 1576 drug units were returned to the pharmacy from the wards.
40.6% were MUF-SP. Of these units, 45% were eligible for the RDU and saved €615.43 (86% of the price of the MUF-SP).
22 different drugs were recycled, of which 19 were antibiotics.
The estimated average time required to generate the whole system was 108 s per item and cost €0.84 per item (including staff and consumables costs). The total cost of the process was €19.14.
Conclusion This solution enables savings (compared to the described process costs), better safety and management. Such a method could reasonably be extended to other hospitals.
References and/or acknowledgements 1 Bonnabry P, Carrez L, Gschwind L, et al. Robotisation de la distribution globale des médicaments: impact sur le taux d’erreur. Le Pharmacien Hospitalier et Clinicien; doi:10.1016/j.phclin.2011.12.251
No conflict of interest.
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