Thursday, December 26, 2019

The End of the Road, the Last Post

Dear friends, the title of this post says it all: this is the end of the road for me as a pharmacist blogger.

Whether you’ve been following for one year or ten years, thank you so much for your support. You have made this whole journey worthwhile. 

Thank you!!!


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Procurement, tendering and decision making processes in the hospital setting

Through recent years, numerous innovative and exiting drug treatments have become available for treatment at hospitals to the benefit of patients. However, health budgets throughout Europe are challenged by the high costs of these drugs, and hospital pharmacies have a key role by buying medications for hospitals. In order to address the increasing medication costs, procurement and tendering should be considered as topics related to managing medication costs.

Procurement can be performed at national, regional as well as at local hospital level. Pros and cons for the hospital pharmacies exist for performing procurement at the various levels including effects on drug cost reduction, continuity of drug supply, competition etc.

Tenders are made when procuring drugs at hospital pharmacies, and various pros and cons exist for doing tenders as well. The traditional of doing tenders based on price only is widely accepted, however, value-based tenders including other aspects of the drugs than the price itself (e.g. patient safety issues, environmental aspects, quality-based factors and innovative characteristics) is becoming increasingly popular.

The hospital pharmacist has a role for the future in ensuring relevance of the included factors of these value-based procurements. In some European countries pay-per-performance and other models are used as a part of the tenders. These models may allow for the possibility of a greater price reduction, but they also lead to increased administration costs of monitoring of the tender and ensuring reimbursement. Finally, procurement is regulated by EU-legislation, and all of the above should comply with these rules.

Learning objectives 

At the end of this synergy masterclass, participants will be able to:
  • recall important EU-legislation with regard to procurement; 
  • recognise pros and cons by doing procurement and tenders at national, regional and hospital level, respectively; 
  • list elements of value-based procurement 


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

EAHP's 2018 Survey on Medicines Shortages

On 7 November 2018, EAHP released the results of its 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey. The launch event of the report summarising the findings from the largest pan-Europe survey on medicines supply shortages took place at the Press Club in Brussels.
The results of the 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey underline that medicines shortages remain a major problem for patients in European hospitals. In a number of ways the issues have become more troublesome since the publication of EAHP’s last survey results in 2014. In particular the percentage of hospital pharmacists reporting shortages to be an issue in terms of delivering the best care to patients has seen a significant increase with 91.8% respondents, compared to 86.2% in 2014, stressing that medicines shortages are a problem faced in their hospital pharmacy.
Many hospital pharmacists highlighted the need for more timely and accurate information on medicines shortages. EAHP is consequently calling on all supply chain actors, the European Commission and national governments to help improve the collection of information about medicines shortages in Europe. Only a comprehensive communication strategy on shortages targeting all European states will ensure that all supply chain actors, including hospital pharmacists, receive adequate information on the shortage of medicines in their countries.

Results from the 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey


The report is available HERE

The information of the report is also summarised for:
  • patients (leaflet is available HERE), 
  • other healthcare professionals (leaflet is available HERE),
  • hospital managers (leaflet is available HERE), 
  • government officials (leaflet is available HERE) and 
  • industry (leaflet is available HERE).
Country specific information was prepared for: 
  • France (leaflet is available HERE), 
  • Germany (leaflet is available HERE), 
  • Italy (leaflet is available HERE), 
  • Spain (leaflet is available HERE) and the 
  • United Kingdom (leaflet is available HERE).


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Medicines Shortages - European Commission eCOST Research Network - Action CA15105

eCOST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.

European Medicines Shortages Research Network - addressing supply problems to patients (Medicines Shortages) 

The problems created by supply shortages of medicines have been widely reported by healthcare professionals and patients over recent years, and acknowledged at the European level by the European Medicines Agency and European Commission. The cited causes are multifaceted ranging from production disruptions, natural disasters, discontinuations as well as difficulties created by various legal, trade and pricing frameworks. Healthcare professionals require access to reliable and up-to-date information about the unavailability of a medicine in order that they can treat the patient in the best way possible. The significant patient impact because of the lack of medication, in terms of safety and management of their condition, will be researched. In addition the forced substitution to an alternative product or requirement to produce a medicine may increase the risk of error, stress and overall cost to the healthcare system. According to the largest pan-European survey of healthcare professionals yet conducted on the topic, the products mainly affected in the European hospital sector are antimicrobials and oncology products used for large populations. This Action will encourage systematic sharing of information and research about past, ongoing and future shortages of medicines and nutritional products. The Action aims to respond to clinical, financial and quality of life interests, to achieve analytical clarity on disruption causes, to simulate decision making in medicines production and trade, to highlight restrictive legal and economic frameworks, to disclose disincentives in the supply chain such as conflicts of interest or problematic cost-benefit ratios, and to reflect on best coping practices.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

IHE Pharmacy (PHARM) Educational Article, Falsified Medicines Directive - Supply chain interoperability in support of safer medication usage

This document is an initiative of IHE Pharmacy to describe how interoperability can support the effort against falsified medicines, as laid out in the Falsified Medicines Directive - EU Regulation 2016/161.

IHE provides a standard interoperability architecture for the supply of healthcare products. This effort covers traceability, barcode scanning, message exchange, etc. All of these matters help monitor the supply chain and thus support the enforcement of the Falsified Medicines Directive.

This paper explains that the requirements of the Falsified Medicines Directive constitute in identifying the medicinal products along the supply chain, and reporting that to a central data hub. Using publicly available message structures helps software solution providers benefit of IHE’s testing opportunities and support a truly interoperable tracking mechanism.

Scanning the products poses an operational challenge for users: even for easy barcode scanning, for normal volumes it becomes burdensome. In a medium hospital, the effort of identifying all the received primary packages upon reception would exceed one dedicated professional. For this, it is essential to use standardized AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies: standard media (e.g. Datamatrix barcodes) and standardized content.

Standardized interoperability mechanisms also play a role in this: By providing a standard electronic shipment list, the supplier can inform about the content and unique identification numbers included in each shipped carton so that the users may scan the outside package, and the contents of the package are automatically filled into the necessary systems.

This document explains how these mechanisms - reporting and shipment content - can enable proper tracing of medicinal products, and when standardized they enable the different actors to do so with reduced effort.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

eHealth Forum: Catalyst for Reform – Enabler for Growth

The eHealth Forum will be held in Athens, Greece on the 25th and 26th of October, 2016 at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre.

The eHealth Forum becomes the annual meeting point for Greece, the South East Mediterranean and the Middle East, to reach and network with key stakeholders. The eHealth Forum invites policy makers, industry leaders, medical professionals, health care providers, tech innovators, researchers, investors, pharma, telecommunications companies, patient advocacy groups and major health IT players to connect and pursue the role of ehealth as a catalyst of reform and enabler of economic growth.

The rapidly growing eHealth sector estimated to dominate all areas of industry by 2020 presents a unique opportunity for collaboration, financial and scientific growth and social reform. Within this expanding market further developing information technologies and applications in digital health is essential to promote the reform of the healthcare system and therefore act as a catalyst for these imperative changes. The process of reforming healthcare is, in and of itself, an enabler for economic growth in various sectors: research, industry, information and telecommunications technologies. The eHealth Forum presents “hot” topics high on the “digital agenda” in Europe and the surrounding region, while providing the channel to present and disseminate information on scientific and technological advancements in healthcare.

1. eHealth Framework
2. eHealth in practice today
3. Clinical management of chronic illness
4. Patient at the centre: Health Applications
5. Data-aware medical devices
6. Big Data
7. Cyber-security
8. Behavioural Change