Unit Dose Packaging Systems


State of Pharmacy Automation 2019 - Vol. 16 No. 8 - Page #24

Pharmacy must maintain a strong focus on unit dose packaging operations, given what seems to be an almost permanent inability to purchase all medications in bar coded unit dose format. As such, unit dose packaging remains a key element of pharmacy responsibilities. It is notable that manual packaging systems are increasingly popular and serve as an ancillary packaging solution for many facilities. To pharmacy’s advantage, a multitude of highly rated packaging solutions are available to meet various packaging volume needs.

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The number of facilities purchasing a high percentage of their medications in bar coded unit dose continues to trend upward, albeit slowly. Most facilities (71%) now purchase more than three-quarters of their medications in this format. Nonetheless, those facilities purchasing all of their drugs in bar coded unit dose has yet to exceed a mere 3%.


While mid-sized hospitals are most likely to purchase more than 90% of their medications in bar coded unit dose, this has yet to become a majority practice in facilities of any size.


Most facilities are dispensing at least 96% of their medications in bar coded unit dose, yet those doing so for all of their medications remain in the minority.


As the ability to purchase all medications in bar coded unit dose remains elusive, packaging operations are a key component in the vast majority of hospital pharmacies.


The few pharmacies without a packaging operation tend to be concentrated in the smallest facilities.


The vast majority of repackaging continues to be managed with in-house packaging systems; nonetheless, outsourced repackaging services are benefitting from increasing utilization.


Manual packaging systems are gaining in popularity as pharmacy is increasingly likely to rely on these systems for a majority of their repackaging needs.


The wide variety of packaging vendors are well-rated by their users, with an overall 96% satisfaction rating.


Medi-Dose remains the market leader among unit dose packaging vendors, followed by Health Care Logistics, Medical Packaging Inc, and Omnicell.

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