Research commissioned by Pharmacy Voice to quantify the level of dispensing errors in community pharmacy confirms that pharmacy teams across the UK are safely and efficiently supplying over a billion prescription items each year with high levels of accuracy.
Over a 12-month period, a total of 6415 community pharmacies, from nine of the ten largest community pharmacy multiples, provided anonymous branch level data on the number of dispensing incidents and the prescription volumes. Over 200 pharmacies did not report a single error over the 12 month period and over 1200 reported less than 4 incidents for every 100,000 items dispensed. On average 1.44 incidents occurred for every 10,000 prescription items supplied which means that over 99.9% of items are dispensed without an error.
Chief executive of Pharmacy Voice Rob Darracott said: “The results of our audit confirm the commitment all community pharmacy teams have to patient safety, which is reflected in the very low levels of dispensing incidents. Fostering an open culture about dispensing incidents will allow us to identify areas of risk and share learning about how we can minimise this risk. We would like to see more action from manufacturers to avoid similar packaging and help pharmacy teams do their jobs efficient and safely.”
Deborah Vaughan at Teva UK Limited commented, “At Teva we are committed to supporting the dispensing and taking of our medicines. One way we can do this is through developing patient and pharmacy-centred packaging. A lot of work has already gone into the design of our existing Teva 360 packaging and this has been recognised by the industry through the awards it has won. However, we continue to try to make progress in this important area using the feedback from both pharmacy and patients.”
Pharmacy Voice is calling for greater collaboration between manufacturers and the community pharmacy sector on packaging design to further improve patient safety. Teva UK Limited, a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer, explored the principles of optimum packaging design with community pharmacy teams and patients to explore ways of evolving their 360 packaging to help patient adherence and support the dispensing process. Key findings from discussions with pharmacy teams are that clarity, (through bold fonts, clear colour schemes and easy to read expiry dates) and differentiation between similar drug names were of most importance when considering packaging design. Patients said that packaging must be easy to read and different drugs and strengths should be differentiated by colour.
A joint Pharmacy Voice and Teva UK Limited poster about patient safety will be presented at the Pharmacy Management National Forum meeting at the Novotel in London on 18th November.
Notes to editors
Pharmacy Voice was formed by the three largest community pharmacy owner associations to create a stronger, unified voice for their independent and multiple members. The founding members of Pharmacy Voice are the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).
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