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Logo: NHS East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub
finpro med
NHS pharmacy specialists co-innovating pharmacy robotics
06 February 2018


A group of pharmacy professionals from NHS Trusts across the UK, The Finnish Trade Commission Finpro and the Finnish pharmacy automation company NewIcon gathered in the beautiful Finnish Residence in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, on the 17th October 2017 for a workshop focused on the future needs for IV cytotoxic automation in the UK market.

A study,Errors associated with the preparation of aseptic products in UK hospital pharmacies: lessons from the national aseptic error reporting scheme” in Quality & Safety in Health Care reported that since 2003, 4691 pharmacy compounding errors and near misses were recorded and, as high as 40 percent of them were related to adult cytotoxic preparations. Globally, there is a considerable number of cases where a pharmacy compounding error has led to severe injury to a patient or even death in some instances due to wrong drug, wrong dose or microbiological contamination.  Cytotoxic reconstitution can lead to high risks for staff involved due to exposure to the drugs, needlestick injuries or repetitive strain injuries due to the repetitive nature of the role and the postures that cannot be avoided when preparing these toxic drugs. 

Compounding processes vary across the different countries, NewIcon wants to work closely together with pharmacy leaders and specialists in the UK when developing the next-generation robot for compounding ready-to-use cancer drugs.

By implementing automation many error prone phases during reconstitution can be avoided. We have recently launched a compounding robot for antibiotics, and are now expanding our product portfolio with IV cytotoxic automation. Thus, we wanted to hear directly from the NHS Trusts specialists and learn about the needs for future robotics, explains Marja Jaurakkajärvi, Vice President in Business Development in NewIcon.   

As an organisation we are keen to be involved with these discussions and shaping the future needs of the NHS.  Pharmacy Automation is a growing market and we are supporting trusts with implementation of these systems to help drive efficiencies and reduce errors that arise due to the manual, complex nature of these jobs.  It is important that the NHS collaborates with industry as they have specialist knowledge in this field and the UK can benefit from experiences of other countries that are more digitally advanced in the delivery and storage of medicines.  Stephanie Rose, Head of Pharmacy Procurement, East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub

The day was inspiring and offered us a plethora of information about compounding processes and needs in UK, says Product Manager Laura Virekunnas from NewIcon. Working together with the pharmacy specialists is something that we value a lot. It helps us to deliver products and solutions that truly meet the needs of the NHS and its members.