Pharmaceutical medications for dispensing that are prepackaged are highly regulated at every level of the government. Many processes and procedures must be followed to ensure safety for the patient.
Prepackaging does not just include the product given to the patient. Prepackaged includes making the medicine to distributing the medicine, and everything in between. It includes the type of packaging to temperature and labeling.
Prepackaging can even include how the products are presented and how they are protected before, during and after shipping.
Listed below are steps involved in making prepackaged medications for dispensing.
Producing the Medication For Dispensing
There are over 100 steps involved in the production of prepackaged medication. DEA and FDA guidelines are strictly followed when creating medicines to be used by physicians who are dispensing at point of care.
This means the facility is clean, sterile and well protected. Quality management and quality assurance are top priority.
The actual medications for dispensing are typically made at the manufacturer’s site, whether in the United States or overseas. Those medicines are then sent to the prepackaging facility for production.
It is here that medicines are placed in packaging forms chosen by the doctor, depending on how he or she wants to distribute them to patients.
According to patient needs, physicians may order a pill variety for one and a liquid variety for another. This may happen when patients have trouble swallowing pills or if patients are allergic to the synthetics used to hold the pills together.
The facilities used to repackage medicines follow extremely monitored regulations. They utilize state of the art sorting equipment, top security measures, and temperature controlled environments.
The steps taken to ensure the medicine is properly produced can seem extreme to some. However, it should also give comfort to physicians wanting to make sure the medications for dispensing they order are prepared safely and securely.
Selecting the type of packaging for medications for dispensing is done in the earlier stages of production. Common packaging includes blister packs and bottles. There are many rules to follow for each of these packaging forms.
Medicines are susceptible to degradation. To prevent this and any loss of potency, prepackaged companies do whatever they can to make sure packaging provides adequate barriers to the drugs but are also easy to use by the patient.
Companies use the best materials to protect drugs while also keeping the cost reduced. They ensure both primary and secondary packaging meets the standards set forth by governmental agencies.
Blister packs are typically used for whole, solid medicines. They are pre-formed by a machine. Blister packs can hold medicines such as pills, gel caps and suppositories. They work well in a variety of temperatures and are tamper proof and very hard to destroy.
Blister packs protect medicines from melting, breaking and crushing. They are quite durable and safe.
Bottle forms are often used for liquid medicines. However, they can also be used for pill or gel forms. Glass bottles are mostly used for holding liquids. The glass provides extra security and protection.
Plastic bottles are most commonly used for pill forms of medications for dispensing, and sometimes powders. The reason most plastic bottles have an orange or brown tint is because those protect medicines from sun damage, or ultra violet light getting into the bottle and ruining the pills.
Powder forms of medicines often come in white plastic bottles.
Temperature can change the structure and effectiveness of a medicine quickly. Prepackaging facilities take extra measures to make sure medicines are kept at temperatures conducive to keeping the potency and form intact.
Not only do the facilities have temperature controls in every room, the packaging they use to ship medications for dispensing are insulated and created to ensure medicines are consistently at the right temperature.
They even consider where the medications for dispensing will be delivered and the temperature that may affect it on that end. For instance, a steel mailbox can reach temperatures well into the 100s. Keeping this in mind, repackaging facilities will insulate your package to meet those variables.
As mentioned before, the facility is secured. You will find it reassuring to know that the medications for dispensing are secured also, and follows FDA guidelines on repackaging.
Every part of the medications for dispensing is traceable, from the packaging to the medicine itself. Serial numbers are provided that are unique to the medicines you order.
Other safety measures include holograms, authentication labels, and security printing.
Labeling Medications For Dispensing
Correct labeling is important in all medications for dispensing, especially prepackaged. The label, even though small, contains a large amount of information. Prepackaging facilities know just how vital this information can be.
Name of the physician, brand name of the drug, and patient name are three pieces of information on a label. Other pieces include drug expiration date, safety warnings such as “may cause drowsiness”, and instructions on how to take the medicine.
Some medications for dispensing need to be taken with food, while others need to be taken on an empty stomach. Having these instructions available can determine the effectiveness of the medicine.
Labels will also note if refills are available and if so, how many. It will have contact information for the doctor and an account number or serial number that can be traced back to the prescription ordered.
Distribution to Patient
Only qualified and certified medical or pharmaceutical professionals can distribute medicines to patients. This is for the safety of both the physician and the patient.
Prepackaging companies provide everything a physician needs to properly store and distribute medicines to their patients. Doctors are given lock storage boxes that protect the medicines until it is time to distribute.
In addition, prepacking companies can offer temperature controlled storage containers to physicians who need to keep some medicines cold and others at room temperature.
Because all the medicines are packaged before arriving to the physician’s office, the process of distribution to the patient is made simpler and more secure.