Tips for Effectively Outsourcing Anesthesia Syringes


December 2010 - Vol. 7 No. 12 - Page #13

Tricia Meyer, PharmD, MS, FASHP
Director of Pharmacy
Scott and White Healthcare
Temple, Texas
Vendor in use: PharMEDium

Using an outsourcer to supply prefilled anesthesia syringes instead of compounding them in-house, provides an additional layer of safety while saving time for both the pharmacy and anesthesia departments. When evaluating options for outsourcing prefilled anesthesia syringes, cost, storage, and beyond-use dates (BUDs) are among the primary issues that should be evaluated. Keep the following considerations in mind:

  • To compare the cost of prefilled syringes supplied by outsourced pharmacies to those that you are filling in the pharmacy, remember to include the cost of the drug wastage that occurs in the operating room. As pharmacists, we may not be aware that anesthesia providers commonly draw up medications prior to the commencement of surgery to ensure accessibility in case of an emergency, and later discard any medications that were not used. A thorough cost comparison should include this hidden cost in addition to the cost of the drug, diluents, syringe cap, syringes, labels (including any labeling equipment), packaging, miscellaneous supplies, labor, testing, and overhead associated with the cleanroom.
  • Evaluate the storage space that will be required in both your anesthesia kits and automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) for the prefilled syringes. Vials and ampoules require less space than prefilled syringes; thus, a plan will need to be developed to reconfigure the kits and cabinets. Most of the outsourcing pharmacies provide similar size syringes for the different anesthesia drugs; although,  there may be small differences in size among the products.
  • Selecting the product with the longest BUD is the optimal choice, of course. Because BUDs often vary among outsourcing pharmacies, this will become a key point in determining your vendor. Check with vendors to see if they are currently conducting analysis to establish BUDs for the products you are considering outsourcing.
  • Check in with your outsourcing representative on a regular basis to ensure optimal pricing, as the cost of outsourced prefilled syringes can fluctuate over time depending on purchasing volume, buying group negotiations, and periodic vendor pricing adjustments.

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