Today’s pharmacies—whether inpatient, outpatient or free-standing—must be more diligent than ever in doing their part to ensure patient safety. Among the challenges are increased regulatory burdens at the federal and state levels, particularly around the need for improved controlled-substance outcomes and drug compounding safety.
The right storage solutions are an essential part of the equation, helping pharmacy employees be more organized and streamlining their workflows. Medications can be stored, prepared, displayed and transported in a way that optimizes limited space, enabling staff to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible while avoiding:
- Mistakes that could harm patients, such as administering the wrong medication
- Harm to pharmacy or healthcare staff from exposure to hazardous drugs
- Exposure of medications to improper temperatures, sunlight, contamination or other environmental conditions that can make them unsafe or reduce their effectiveness
- Wasting of valuable supplies
- Wasting of staff time by making it difficult for them to locate and dispense medications
- Wasted space through inefficient storage
Meeting Requirements and Recommendations
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established requirements for the storage and handling of prescription drugs. Among other requirements, prescription drugs must “be maintained in a clean and orderly condition” and “be free from infestation by insects, rodents, birds or vermin of any kind.”
In addition, the independent, scientific nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) has developed standards, recommendations and processes aimed at protecting patient safety and strengthening the global supply chain for medicines. New sets of guidelines are scheduled to take effect this year. USP 797 is designed to ensure accuracy and avoid contamination of sterile products, and USP 800 covers the handling of hazardous drugs.
Responsibilities under USP 797 and USP 800, set to go live November 1, 2023, include providing the proper environment for the compounding of medications that must be sterile, helping reduce risks such as contamination, infection and incorrect dosing. There are specific requirements for an anteroom, or transition area, leading into the room where drug compounding will take place. This room, where employees wash their hands and put on personal protective equipment (PPE), must meet special air filtration standards.
Modernizing and Improving Your Pharmacy
The intensified focus on “clean room” techniques and technologies has forced pharmacies to undertake modernization and improvement efforts that make stainless steel tables, shelving and worktables attractive. Stainless steel is durable, resistant to corrosion, and easy to clean and maintain.
Polypropylene, used in many pharmacy bins, is attractive because it is strong, flexible, impermeable to water and humidity, resistant to mold and other fungi, and chemically and biologically inert.
Easy access and clear visibility enhance pharmacy staff’s ability to store and locate medications and supplies, take inventory, and quickly and safely fill orders. Wire shelving, made of stainless steel, galvanized steel or chrome, is a popular option for meeting these needs.
Storage Systems Unlimited carries a wide range of solutions for the modern pharmacy, allowing you to customize work areas and storage units to fit your workflow.
- Workstations: From picking stations and order entry to bulk storage and clean rooms, workstations with smart design increase workflow and productivity.
- Bins and bin storage: Sleek, modern designs offer maximum visibility of medications and supplies, whether they are stacked or hung. Optional lids and dividers can aid in organizing.
- Cabinets: Wall-mounted narcotics boxes keep valuable and potentially harmful medications safely locked up, allowing for precise tracking of inventory and guarding against theft. Cabinets can be stacked up to three high, increasing storage capacity.
- Wall systems: PPE organizers and dispensers simplify storage of gloves, masks, caps, jumpsuits and other sterile apparel as well as biohazard bags and other supplies.
- Mobile solutions: Utility carts made of heavy-duty polymer, plastic or other material enable the safe and efficient transportation of pharmaceutical and other supplies throughout a facility.
Storage Systems Unlimited is your one-stop shop for pharmacy products used to store, prepare, transport and dispense medication. Storage Systems can help you design and plan pharmacy renovations and product additions to create fully integrated medication storage solutions. In addition to offering competitive pricing on thousands of products, we install everything we sell, including wire shelving and storage, workstations, bins and bin storage, wall systems, cabinets and medication carts. Because of the custom nature of products available for pharmacy environments, please call us at 888-614-0004 to discuss your pharmacy storage needs.