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Potential medicine waste in the process of outpatients receiving cost-free medicines from medicine pick-up lockers in the North Denmark region
  1. Lisa Greve Routhe1,
  2. Iben Bang Andersen2,
  3. Mille Vraa Gamborg Eisenhardt2,
  4. Maja Beck Mejlholm2,
  5. Helena Birk Wisby2,
  6. Anne Estrup Olesen3,4
    1. 1The Hospital Pharmacy in the North Denmark Region, Aalborg, Denmark
    2. 2Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
    3. 3Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
    4. 4Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
    1. Correspondence to Lisa Greve Routhe, The Hospital Pharmacy in the North Denmark Region, Aalborg, Denmark; l.routhe{at}rn.dk

    Abstract

    Objectives In the Danish healthcare system, restructuring is an ongoing process to accommodate the rising number of patients and to optimise resource allocation. To ease departmental burdens at hospitals in the North Denmark Region, outpatients are empowered to collect their cost-free medicines from medication pick-up lockers. The lockers function similarly to a package box, thereby enhancing patient freedom. Due to lack of evidence within the published literature regarding cost-free medicines and medicine waste, the aim of our study was to identify the common medications delivered to medicine pick-up lockers and secondly, to evaluate potential medicine waste.

    Methods Data from ApoVision provided insights into medications delivered to medicine pick-up lockers from March to October 2023 in the North Denmark Region. To estimate unused medicines we obtained data on the number of medications returned from medicine pick-up lockers.

    Results From 2020 to 2023, the number of patients receiving cost-free medicines at medication pick-up lockers increased. In total, approximately 30 000 packages of medicine were delivered to medicine pick-up lockers from March to October 2023 in the North Denmark Region; 1.7% were returned. Methotrexate, adalimumab, and omalizumab were among the most common deliveries and were also the three most returned from the medicine pick-up lockers.

    Conclusions This study is an initial attempt to investigate potential medicine waste in cost-free medicines dispensed to outpatients via pick-up lockers. Antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents were the most common medicines delivered to medication pick-up lockers in the North Denmark Region from March to October 2023. In this period, approximately 2% of all delivered medicine packages were returned to the hospital pharmacy. Our analysis solely focuses on waste associated with medications left uncollected from medicine pick-up lockers. Addressing the impact of medicine waste in a hospital setting requires a comprehensive approach, thus future studies should also focus on other sites relevant for medication waste as, for example, the patient’s household.

    • ECONOMICS, PHARMACEUTICAL
    • CLINICAL MEDICINE
    • MEDICATION SYSTEMS, HOSPITAL
    • Hospital Distribution Systems
    • PHARMACY SERVICE, HOSPITAL
    • PUBLIC HEALTH

    Data availability statement

    All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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    Data availability statement

    All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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