A proactive quality strategy to decrease the risk of error associated with medication procurement

Linda V. Graudins, Rowena Treseder, Colin Hui, Tania L. Samuel, Michael J. Dooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: To describe a two-stage system of medication product review prior to dispensing or distribution, to decrease risk of error resulting from product changes. Methods: Initial development of a safety strategy occurred during the 2010 state-wide tender of pharmaceutical products. Samples of new medication products were obtained and risk assessed by consensus. Detailed criteria were subsequently developed for: (i) centralised state-based review; and (ii) hospital pharmacy review in-between tenders. Results were fed back to improve evaluation during state-wide tender. Results: In 2010, 14 of 300 (4.6%) new brands of tendered products were assessed as having some risk. Shelf tags or alerts were produced for low or moderate risk products (n = 11, 3.6%). For three products (1.0%), alternative brands were purchased. Subsequently, detailed criteria were developed for both state tender and routine hospital pharmacy product review. In 2014 the hospital’s medication safety pharmacists reviewed 242 products in between tender periods. Fifty-two (21.4%) were assessed as having some risk. For seven products (2.8%) an alternative brand was sought. The state tender group now includes a medication safety review during each tender process. Conclusion: Evaluation of new brands during pharmaceutical tender highlighted the importance of having a system to decrease the risk of selection error. The two stages of the medication safety product review strategy are described. First, the centralised review at tender; second, the hospital pharmacy review at procurement and in between tenders, which has further decreased risks associated with new brands and new products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Assessment
  • Medication error
  • Medicine use
  • Patient safety
  • Quality assurance

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