The new European Medicines Verification System ensures that falsified or stolen medicinal products can no longer enter the legal supply chain. The system applies to both hospitals and outpatient care pharmacies.
All medicinal products entering the market after 9th February 2020 must show on their packaging a two-dimensional data matrix code that will be scanned before the medicine is dispensed to a patient. The system uses the code to verify the medicinal products’ information in the European Hub and alerts the user if something is unclear.
At hospital blood centres, this applies to an Octaplas LG plasma product, which is categorised as a medicinal product. Mylab has created a feature in the blood centre application that can verify these products as they are being entered into the information system.
We wanted to make medicine verification as easy and simple as possible for our clients. For patients, medicine verification further improves the safety of blood transfusions, Mylab software specialist Janne Raja-aho explains.
The safety code on the packaging can be scanned at the same time as it is being entered into the blood centre storage system. The system adds a usage entry in the medicine verification system when the product is dispensed to a patient. No additional steps are required.
The user does not have to sign into a separate system and the products do not have to be transported to the hospital pharmacy to be verified. This saves clients’ time and money, Product Manager Mikko Sipilä says.
”Absolutely excellent from the user’s perspective”
Specialist Nurse Satu Rohkimainen from Fimlab is happy that medicine verification was integrated into the blood centre’s own information system. Rohkimainen works as a part-time software specialist at Mylab and brings up practical questions and needs in software development.
From the user’s perspective, it is absolutely excellent that the medicine verification process works in the same system as where the product would be registered anyway. The reform only adds one phase to the work: scanning the code, which is done using the same scanner that is used for reading the product anyway.
If the European Medicines central database was not functioning for some reason, the medicinal product could still be dispensed to the patient, because its information is saved in the information system’s buffer until the database begins working again. Thus, the treatment of any patient will not be jeopardised because of the new system.
Octaplas is used for surgery and trauma patients who bleed profusely. Usually, when the product has been defrosted and it is being sent to the patient, time is of the essence, Rohkimainen remarks.
In future, other medicinal products that would be delivered to patients through blood centres might come into use in hospitals. Once the medicine verification feature is built into the information system, its use can easily be expanded to other products as well.
Medicine verification will be implemented gradually
Pharmacies and blood centres will not have to take up medicine verification all at once, and old medicine packages can be used up from storage first.
Both the Finnish Blood Service and the manufacturer have plenty of old Octaplas products in storage. The frozen product lasts for a long time, so these packages can be dispensed to patients for several months yet.
The first Mylab clients to implement the new function are Fimlab and Eksote. Tykslab and Satadiag will follow later.
For Mylab, the effort took a little under a year. The planning started last spring, the feature was created during the autumn and was then tested by us and our clients, Janne Raja-aho tells.
The project was carried out in collaboration with hospital blood centres, data administration and the medicine manufacturer, Octapharma. Finnish Medicines Verification Oy was also an important partner to us and we worked closely together.