Repackaging is the process of taking medication from the original package, that is usually delivered straight from the manufacturer in large quantity containers, and putting into a new, individual package. The new packaging has many advantages, aside from being safer for patients.
Everything from how the medicine is stored and separated, to the specific process of repackaging means quality is not only maintained, it is improved. Because of this, medication errors that can happen anywhere from the packaging facility to the pharmacy to the patient are reduced.
Below are a few more reasons repackaging can significantly improve medication safety.
Smaller Doses Available
Prescriptions often come in quantities that are larger than what the patient needs. This creates a setting where potential harm could happen for the patient or others. Patients are not sure what to do with leftover medicine.
This means they could dispose of it incorrectly. It could get taken by someone else in their household by accident. Or, the patient may continue to use the medicine simply because they misinterpreted your instructions.
With repackaged medications, you can prescribe the exact amount of medicine your patient needs. This prevents the safety problem of drug waste.
Decreases Drug Waste
Prescription drug waste is a major problem in our country today. While there are good programs established for returning unused medication, few patients take advantage of them. Instead, many patients throw them into the trash to be picked up and hauled to a landfill.
Others find their own ways to get rid of medications, like flushing them down the toilet, which can become a problem for the water systems, contaminating water for the entire community.
Repackaged medicine prevents this type of waste because only the doses needed are prescribed. Less waste also helps to prevent abuse of prescription medications.
Reduces Abuse of Prescription Medications
There is an enormous prescription drug abuse problem in America. Part of this problem is the availability of drugs. Not all your patients are innocent when it comes to disposing of unused medications. There are patients who will sell or trade their unused medications, especially narcotics.
To prevent this, repackaging companies have made it easy for you to prescribe just enough medicine to supply your patients for a specific period. This helps you track their use better also. You can know if your patient is abusing their drugs by the number of times, they call for refills, which is tracked with repackaging software.
Repackaging medication also comes with the ability to trace controlled substances.
Traceability of Controlled Substances
Repackaging of controlled substances makes them safer for you, the physician, and for the patient. Controlled substances, and all other repackaged medicines, are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.
This provides all people involved with a security that if a medication is stolen or misused, it can be tracked to verify where the medicine originated and for whom or what it was intended.
Furthermore, you can feel secure in prescribing when you know that repackaged medicines follow the strictest guidelines set forth by the DEA and the FDA, and they are held accountable if these guidelines are not met.
Safety Guidelines Followed
Both the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration set forth strict guidelines for repackaging companies. The regulations are set forth to protect the patient, the doctor and the facility doing the repackaging.
If repackaging companies fail to adhere to the regulations, they are warned, inspected and eventually shut down and prevented from operating. Repackaging companies are expected to provide documentation and visual proof that all regulations are being met.
Medicines are different in many ways, from size to storage requirements. Too often, medicines are given to patients using the same type of containers, making them easy to confuse with one another. This also means some medicines are not in the most appropriate container for safety.
There are specific standards a repackaging company must follow when it comes to preparing bottles, multi-unit or individual unit packages. The containers must be better than the original container from the manufacturer.
The new containers must take into consideration moisture, light, vapors, sealants and compatibility with the drug itself.
Repackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine. This means you can rely on them for compliance rather than you needing to become educated on all the requirements for containers.
Repackaging companies provide you with the best information on each medicine to share with your patients, which is one of the most important things you can do, educate your patients.
Easy for Patients to Understand
The materials provided by the repackaging company and the software you use are simple to understand. It is your job to make sure your patients understand everything, from when to use to side effects to interactions.
If something happens to your patients because of a misunderstanding about their prescribed medication, you could be held liable. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to ensure your patients understand their medicine.
Too often, many doctors and pharmacists do not take the time to explain medication to their patients. And because your patients trust you, they follow your instructions without hesitation. But what if they have forgotten to tell you about a medication, they are taken that could possibly interact with your prescription?
These mistakes do happen. Medication errors are very common.
With repackaged medication, the educational material can help you guide your patient to helping them understand all aspects of their medicine.
You can also document that you educated your patients in the software and have them confirm the education they received. This documentation alone could protect you if something were to go wrong with your patient taking a certain medication.
In conclusion, every physician has a goal to not only treat the health of patients, but to improve it also. You can do that by using repackaged medication that is the safest for patients.