Oct 24, 2006

Who's counting?

I've been thinking about pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies, and wonder why they don't adopt a simple standardization rule. So-called "maintenance meds" for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., are usually prescribed for a 30-day period, with 12 refills. (Or a 90-day period at the mail-order pharmacies some of us have to use.)

Have you ever gotten a batch of 180 pills, with 100 in a manufacturer's container and the other 80 dispensed by the pharmacist? Or 90 pills, which were probably dispensed from a 100-pill container?

If all these meds were packaged in 30-pill containers, the pharmacist could just look at the number per day the patient is to receive and pull the amount easily. If it's two a day, pull two containers. If it's three, pull three.

Maybe the drug company would supply 30-count packages to retail pharmacies and 90-count packages to the mail-order ones.

No undercounting or overcounting. No chance of mislabeling. Less waste of packaging. Simple standard counts. Is that being done anywhere?

1 comment:

Mark Graban said...

That's a great point Karen. I haven't worked with a retail pharmacy, but I know drugs for hospital pharmacies are shipped in bulk like that. I bet the pharma companies don't find it economical to have different packaging for hospitals and retail? I bet the 30/90 day packs that you describe for retail would work for hospitals. I'll try to ask someone about that in my lean healthcare journeys.

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