Unit Dose Repackaging Tips


May 2021 - Vol.18 No. 5 - Page #20

TIP #1

Value of a Manual Packaging System

There will always be times when it is price prohibitive to purchase a product in unit dose, making supplemental repackaging systems a necessity in the pharmacy. Incorporating a manual packaging system into packaging workflow is particularly advantageous for managing medications that are brittle, contain an allergen, or are too big to be managed within an automated repackager. Manual systems are also an excellent option for repackaging controlled substances, hazardous drugs, and some oral liquids.

For more information, see
Develop a Unit-Dose Packaging Strategy


TIP #2

Selecting an Automated Repackaging Machine

Automated repackaging machines ease the repackaging of both oral solids and liquids, be it for regular, planned repackaging efforts or the need to address unexpected shortages. When selecting an automated repackaging machine, key functionalities to consider include:

For more information, see
Develop a Unit Dose Repackaging Strategy


TIP #3

Applying Scannable Bar Codes to the Entire Inventory

Consider the essential role a repackaging operation plays in ensuring pharmacy meets the goal of delivering 100% of medications to the unit with a scannable bar code. A high-quality bar code is crucial to enabling scanning at every step in the medication use process to verify accuracy. Beyond scanning upon dispense and administration, this practice should be utilized during the loading and accessing of every medication storage device, from carousels and robots to automated dispensing cabinets and pneumatic tubes.

Achieving this goal can be challenging with products that fall outside of normal production practices. Consider, for example, home medications and multiple strength medications. While every effort is made to avoid the use of home medications, there will be times when the time constraints for providing a non-formulary medication mean utilizing the home medication is the best option. Likewise, a prescribed dose may on occasion require the use of two different strengths of the same medication and if the EHR does not recognize the two manufacturer’s bar codes as equaling a whole dose, pharmacy will need to send the medication to the unit in a single bag with a patient-specific label. In both of these cases, the in-house repackaging operation must be able to support the bar coding of these products to ensure they are accurately tracked and safely dispensed.

For more information, see
Dispensing Medications in Bar Coded Unit of Use

 

TIP #4

Choosing an Outsourced
Repackaging Vendor

Outsourced repackaging vendors offer significant expertise in terms of ensuring safety and quality given that repackaging is the sole focus of their operations. You can rely on your vendor to utilize quality equipment, provide rigorous staff training, and incorporate all relevant regulatory requirements into their policies and procedures. When selecting a repackaging vendor, consider conducting a site visit to review their operation in person. The vendor should document their compliance with:

During the visit, review standard operating procedures, complaint protocols, quality control requirements, and staff training practices. Ensure licensure is current and liability insurance is in place. Discuss any FDA warning letters and product liability claims, as well as recall policies and procedures. Establish contract length, billing and payment terms, and turnaround time.

For more information, see
Properly Manage Manual Unit Dose Packaging

 
 

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