The full force of the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) is looming.
DSCSA applies to anyone in healthcare that manufactures, distributes or sells pharmaceuticals, whether on shelves, over the counter or dispensed. Due to be fully implemented in 2023, the DSCSA regulations provide the framework to electronically identify and trace prescription drugs throughout the US supply chain.
The aim of the act is to better protect consumers against harmful exposure to potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Improving the detection and removal of unsafe drugs – such as counterfeit, contaminated, expired, and stolen medicines – reduces the risk of any serious threat to public health.
In this blog, we explore how the healthcare supply chain – hospitals and pharmacies – can utilize mobile scanning to ensure DSCSA compliance.
Effective inventory management from drug despatch to disposal
It is essential that healthcare providers maintain adequate control of inventory and adhere to federal and state regulatory requirements so that medication errors, lost inventory and instances of theft are minimized.
In theory, with barcode scanning, every time a pharmaceutical product or LOT is scanned, inventory data is captured, and each product is accounted for at any point in the supply chain from despatch to disposal.
However, ensuring this is the case every time relies on two factors. Firstly, that scanning performance is optimized and secondly, that scanning for inventory checks can be done on the go.
Scandit data capture software integrated into a web or native app on smart devices guarantees both criteria. Whether scanning despatched or received goods, or at awkward angles on pharmacy shelves, or stock in a badly lit storeroom, high-performance scanning from Scandit accurately captures data associated with each pharmaceutical product.
And when integrated with a native app, Scandit MatrixScan software reads multiple barcodes in a single scan at high speed, significantly reducing the time it takes to do inventory management.
For automated dispensing devices, a Scandit data capture software integrated with a pharmacy management system directly inputs drugs into inventory according to substance type, allowing for automatic tracking and inventory count.
Verify and trace pharmaceutical drugs across the supply chain
The DCSA mandates that those in the drug supply chain must provide information about a drug and who handled it each time it’s sold or distributed in the US market.
Those dispensing drugs in pharmacies, hospitals and care home settings need to manage drugs so that they can be traced throughout the supply chain – from manufacturing, through distribution, right up to dispensing to the patient, or disposal.
Accurate smartphone scanning of drugs with mobile devices captures real-time data at the point of despatch, receipt, use and disposal ensuring their complete visibility across the supply chain.
Scanning medication straight into a pharmacy management system ensures pharmaceutical traceability. The scan captures data such as quantities, serial numbers, expiry dates and LOT or batch numbers. Combined with logging data on the movement of drugs, this reduces errors and maintains an accurate view of what is where at any given time.
Also, the ability to trace products across the entire supply chain facilitates quick and precise recalls. Any drugs with manufacturing or labeling issues are efficiently tracked and can be withdrawn before they reach unsuspecting consumers.
Easily detect counterfeit pharmaceuticals
Counterfeit and unapproved drugs pose a significant risk to health. Despite less than 1% of medicines sold in the US being counterfeit, the need to eliminate these dangerous drugs from the US supply chain remains critical.
Under the DSCSA, distributors and dispensers of drugs are obliged to notify the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other stakeholders of any illegitimate drugs they come across. Verifying medication authenticity is simple with Scandit software on mobile devices. It quickly captures unique product identifiers on packaging, including 1D and 2D codes or DataMatrix codes.
If suspect pharmaceuticals are detected, they can immediately be withdrawn from the supply chain and quarantined. The dispensing authority – hospital, pharmacy or retailer – can then ensure the suspect pharmaceuticals are promptly investigated and safely disposed of, if applicable, maintaining the safe supply of drugs.
Ensure patient safety compliance
Healthcare settings need to keep careful track of expiry dates, so that they only dispense drugs that are well within usage dates. Tracking by expiration date also ensures that drugs are dispensed in the right order, with the earliest to expire being used first.
Scandit mobile scanning offers pharmaceutical dispensaries the ability to capture and track this data to ensure the safety and efficacy of the products they dispense.
Efficient inventory management is also vital to upholding the healthcare revenue cycle. Undispensed drugs cannot be reimbursed until they have been dispensed. Consequently, there is a significant financial impact associated with holding large quantities of drugs.
Oncology drugs, for example, are extremely expensive and have a short shelf life. With the ability to easily take inventory, a dispensary can closely monitor usage levels and shelf life. This helps to maintain optimum inventory levels to service patient needs without unnecessarily tying up cash by holding too much inventory.
Avert fraud and dispensing errors
One of the duties of any distributor is to prevent drugs from getting into the wrong hands. Using one mobile device enabled with Scandit smartphone scanning for a range of duties within a healthcare setting makes it simple to segregate duties so that any employee can manage or administer drugs.
This avoids the situation where a single employee has complete control over the process and would therefore be in a position where medication errors – or more worryingly, fraud – could easily occur.
Get in touch to find out how Scandit’s data capture solutions can help you achieve DSCSA compliance and ensure excellent drug inventory management in your hospital, pharmacy, or care home.