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Incorrect storage of medicines and potential for cost savings
  1. Lene Colberg,
  2. Lone Schmidt-Petersen,
  3. Merete Kock Hansen,
  4. Birgitte Smolsky Larsen,
  5. Sigrid Otnes
  1. Medicine Information Centre, Capital Region Hospital Pharmacy, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Lene Colberg, Medicine Information Centre, Capital Region Hospital Pharmacy, Bispebjerg Bakke 23 bygn 51, 2. Sal, Copenhagen, 2400, Denmark; lene.colberg{at}regionh.dk

Abstract

Objective Incorrect storage and handling of refrigerated medicines may result in destruction of medicines and financial loss for hospitals. At the Medicine Information Centre we receive and answer queries on drug-related issues. In this study we aimed to investigate and quantify savings made following advice supplied by the Medicine Information Centre in reply to queries regarding the incorrect storage of refrigerated medicines.

Methods A retrospective study was conducted by systematically reviewing each drug when the cold chain had been impaired, in order to determine whether the drug could continue to be used, possibly with a shortened expiry date. Thus, by examining all cases of incorrect storage, the value of drugs that pharmacists advised could be used despite a broken cold chain, could be estimated.

Results The Medicine Information Centre dealt with 171 cases concerning incorrect storage in 2013. Data show that advice from Medicine Information Centre pharmacists resulted medicine cost savings of DKK 13 million (approx. €1.7 million) in hospitals in the Capital Region for that year.

Conclusions Substantial savings can be made by seeking the advice of a team of information pharmacists regarding the incorrect storage of medicines.

  • DRUG STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION
  • CLINICAL PHARMACY

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